Toxic air, gases hamper search for last 2 volcano victims

(AP) – A second land search of New Zealand's volcanic White Island has failed to locate the bodies of the last two victims of an eruption that has now claimed 16 lives, most of them tourists.

This photo released by the New Zealand Defence Force shows an operation to recover bodies from White Island after a volcanic eruption in Whakatane, New Zealand, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. A team of eight New Zealand military specialists landed on White Island early Friday to retrieve the bodies of victims after the Dec. 9 eruption. (New Zealand Defence Force via AP)

New Zealand police confirmed the 16th victim died Saturday at Sydney's Concord Hospital, one of several Australian hospitals where survivors suffering from severe burns were being treated.

Ten of the dead are thought to be Australians. Of the 47 people on White Island when it erupted, 24 were Australian citizens and four more were permanent residents.

Two four-person teams landed on the island by helicopter. The teams, wearing heavy protective clothing, were using breathing apparatus that allowed them to search for only 75 minutes.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.



 
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