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Thread: New Zealand volcano kills 8, many are still missing

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    New Zealand volcano kills 8, many are still missing




    https://www.dw.com/en/new-zealand-vo...ion/a-51583765
    Five people were confirmed dead and 18 others injured, with many more missing, after a volcano erupted on Monday afternoon while dozens of cruise ship passengers were exploring a small, uninhabited New Zealand island.

    "Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation," police said in a statement. "Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island."

    A massive plume of ash spewed thousands of feet into the air above White Island, also known by the indigenous Maori name Whakaari, which is popular due to its moon-like surface.

    The five people who died were part of 23 rescued earlier from the island.

    Details of the deceased and injured were not provided, however former Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne said a "young, energetic man lost his life," reported the New Zealand Herald.

    https://nypost.com/2019/12/10/surviv...ea-for-safety/

    Survivors of New Zealand?s monstrous volcanic eruption ran for their lives into the sea to escape the scalding steam and wash off the ash that covered them, rescuers said.

    Geoff Hopkins, who was on a trip to White Island as a birthday present from his daughter Lilliani, told the New Zealand Herald that the volcano first appeared beautiful ? but he soon realized it was ?quite menacing.?

    As the ash fell, Hopkins, a pastor, who was sitting in a boat offshore, said he spotted people desperately running into the water.

    Hopkins and Lilliani ? both trained in first aid ? poured fresh water on the injured, cut their clothes and wrapped them in foil blankets as they were ferried onto their boat.

    ?I don?t think there was anyone that came off who wasn?t badly burnt,? Hopkins told the Herald.

    The only ones to escape serious injury were those rescued by helicopter, Hopkins told the outlet.

    ?Everyone else was horrifically burnt,? he said. ?People were in shorts and T-shirts so there was a lot of exposed skin that was massively burnt.?

    ?Their faces were massively burnt,? he added. ?But there were also huge burns under people?s clothes. So their clothes looked fine, but when you cut them off ? I?ve never seen blisters like that.?

    Hopkins, of Hamilton, New Zealand, recalled spending time with a young tourist couple who were ?drifting in and out of consciousness.?

    ?My fear now is that they didn?t make it,? he told the Herald.
    Enlarge Image
    White Island volcano in New Zealand
    EPA

    Survivors also battled the cold after rescuers poured water on their burns, according to Hopkins.

    ?So instead of asking for water, we were asking for coats and jackets,? the rescuer said. ?People were taking their T-shirts off to give us clothes to try and keep people warm on the way back.?

    ?I remember three Asian tourists that huddled together under a big waterproof duffle bag,? he added.

    Another rescuer, Russell ?Rusty? Clark, an intensive care paramedic, told TVNZ that the explosion called to mind the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.

    ?When we got there, it was quite an experience. It was what I?ve seen in the Chernobyl miniseries,? he told the station. ?Everything was just blanketed in ash. It was quite an overwhelming feeling. There was a helicopter on the island that had obviously been there at the time and its rotor blades were off it.?

    ?Even from the outset, the sheer scale of it is enormous and the amount of families and victims that are involved is huge. We?re talking potentially a lot of people involved,? Clark added. ?I feel for their families ? there?s going to be a huge healing process and it?s going to be a long time and a lot of work to be done.?

    A sixth person has been confirmed dead as a result of the eruption ? and authorities say eight more, including at least one American, are missing and presumed dead.
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    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/n...-dead-n1099546

    Grieving relatives of those killed by an eruption at a New Zealand volcano this week will have to wait for the bodies to be recovered because it's still too dangerous to step foot on the island, officials said Wednesday.

    Fourteen people are feared dead on White Island some 30 miles off the coast of New Zealand's North Island. They were among 47 tourists — nine from the United States — who were visiting the volcanic island when part of it exploded Monday in a hail of burning ash, steam and gas.

    Many survivors suffered severe burns and New Zealand officials said they have ordered 1,300 square feet of skin from the U.S. to help treat their wounds.

    On Wednesday, officials said they still cannot go near the disaster zone.

    "The environment on the island has changed, with increased volcanic activity since early this morning," said John Tims, deputy commissioner with New Zealand Police. "We are standing by and ready to go as soon as we can be confident that the risks on the island are manageable."

    The government's geological research organization has warned that "the chance of a further eruption is significant and it is too dangerous to return to the island," Tims told reporters.

    The military and emergency services are now working on a plan of how to enter the deadly environment. Specialists are standing by to identify bodies if and when that happens.

    "We are confident in our ability to deliver the rescue operation once we can be sure we can manage the very real dangers that anyone going onto the island would face," Tims added. "Those deploying to the island will likely encounter serious physical and chemical hazards, for which we must be prepared."

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    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...lcano-disaster

    Two more people have died from injuries sustained during the eruption of New Zealand’s White Island volcano, bringing the confirmed death toll from the disaster to eight.

    A total of 16 people are believed to have died, including 14 Australian citizens or permanent residents, and New Zealander tour guide, Hayden Marshall-Inman.

    The two latest confirmed fatalities were Berend Hollander, 16, and his brother Matthew Hollander, 13, both students at Knox Grammar school in Sydney. Their parents remain unaccounted for.

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that 28 Australian citizens or permanent residents were caught up in the disaster.

    Ten citizens and one permanent resident were presumed dead or missing. This included people who died on the island and whose bodies were brought back to the mainland as well as those thought to still be on the island.

    Three people, including two permanent residents and one citizen known to be Coffs Harbour man Jason Griffiths, were brought to hospital but died of their injuries.

    Five citizens had left New Zealand for medical evacuation to Australian hospitals. Another seven citizens and one permanent resident were expected to be airlifted later on Thursday.

    One citizen is expected to remain at the New Zealand hospital where they are currently being treated.

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    A specialist team have recovered six bodies from New Zealand's White Island volcano, braving hazardous conditions in a risky operation four days after it erupted while 47 people were visiting.
    The recovery on Friday morning local time brings the official death toll from Monday's eruption to at least 15. Authorities are still working to recover two more bodies, including one that was spotted in the water near the shore of White Island.
    It was the first time authorities have been able to return to White Island -- also known as Whakaari -- since it erupted on Monday with little warning.

    Earlier in the week, authorities said it was too dangerous to return to the popular tourist spot as the risk of another eruption remains high. There are also chemical and physical hazards on the island.

    On Friday, a specialist team of six men and two women spent up to four hours on the island, authorities said. The search team had to wear additional protective safety equipment, which slowed down the recovery process, a police spokeswoman told CNN.

    New Zealand's volcano monitoring service GeoNet said Friday that there is still a 50% to 60% chance of another eruption in the next 24 hours. However, authorities decided it was safe enough as there was only a 6% chance of an eruption in any three-hour period, New Zealand Defense Force colonel Rian McKinstry said.
    "We cannot downplay the risk involved in this operation," he said.
    In a press conference Friday, police commissioner Mike Bush praised the work of the recovery team.
    "The environment that those staff encountered was unpredictable and challenging, and those staff showed absolute courage in order to ensure that those six people were returned to their loved ones," he said. "It's not over yet."
    T
    McKinstry added that it had been a "traumatic and harrowing" time for the local community and the families who have been directly affected
    After news that six bodies had been recovered, there was clapping and signs of relief from the families of those missing, Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said Friday.
    "These families are just so appreciative, so ecstatic, so overwhelmed and overjoyed to know that they've got their loved ones back with them," Haumaha told reporters in Whakatane, the town on New Zealand's North Island that is closest to White Island.
    The six bodies will be transported to Auckland Friday for identification.
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/12/asia/...red/index.html
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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...6da_story.html
    They packed the human skin in cardboard boxes lined with foam and dry ice, and shipped it off. With that, the workers at a facility in southwestern Ohio became part of an incredible drama unfolding 8,000 miles away.

    A volcano had just rained superheated ash, steam and gas over New Zealand?s White Island, a tourist site that dozens of people from around the world were visiting Monday. Some people perished before they could be rescued. Many of the survivors were badly burned.

    And doctors were now struggling with another huge problem. They were low on human skin to temporarily cover the burns.

    Urgent calls went out to skin banks ? a vital but niche part of the world of rapid-response medicine.

    At Community Tissue Services in Kettering, Ohio ? on a campus overlooking a quiet pond outside Dayton ? a shipment was quickly pulled together of about 300 square feet of human skin, or enough to fully cover more than 15 bodies.


    ?It takes a huge amount of skin when you have an international catastrophe and this is one for sure,? said Diane Wilson, chief operating officer at Community Tissue Services, which has one of the world?s largest supplies of human skin. ?We are very, very fortunate that we keep the amount of skin on hand that we do.?

    There has been a global outpouring of support in the days since the volcano erupted on White Island, also known by its Maori name Whakaari, unleashing a scorching torrent onto unsuspecting tourists.

    But nothing has been as critical as stabilizing the burn victims.

    Doctors have been overwhelmed by the unusually high number of patients needing emergency surgery for severe burns ? injuries that require not only highly trained surgical specialists but also heaps of human skin for temporary grafts.

    Burn response teams there have been working 24 hours a day to treat more than 20 badly burned patients after the incident left some victims with severe burns on up to 90 percent of their bodies. At least eight people, including two U.S.-born brothers, died and eight other people were presumed dead.

    On Wednesday, Peter Watson, chief medical officer in Counties Manukau, told reporters that New Zealand had ordered 1,292 square feet of skin from tissue banks in the United States to help treat the patients. About a quarter of that skin was shipped from the facility in Ohio, one of the largest skin-providing tissue banks in the world. Australia has also provided more than 20 square feet of skin.

    Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It protects humans from infections and helps maintain the body?s moisture, which is crucial to survival. Adults typically have 10 to 20 square feet of skin, depending on their height and stature.

    When patients are badly burned, doctors try whenever possible to use skin grafts from uninjured parts of the patient?s own body to cover their burns, said Branko Bojovic, a surgeon in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.

    But patients with burns on more than 50 percent of their body often cannot act as their own donor.

    That?s when skin from cadavers comes in.

    Bojovic said donor skin is usually removed from ?larger surface areas which are easier to harvest ? the torso, the back is very easy to take off with good quality and amounts of skin, and the thighs.?

    Unlike many other organ donations that require patients to share a blood type or even a similar ethnic background for a transplant match, skin from any cadaver can generally be used on anyone?s wound. That?s in part because grafts are never intended to be permanent.

    Instead, they temporarily alleviate a patient?s pain, protect them from infection and allow them to stay hydrated as their body heals and attempts to rejuvenate its own skin.

    Wilson, the Community Tissue Services chief, said the organization accepts donations from deceased people up to age 80 and has provided skin in response to other major catastrophes in the United States and abroad, including in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, a tanker truck explosion in Pakistan in 2017 and a nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003.

    The skin, which is kept at extremely low temperatures, has a shelf life of up to five years, Wilson said, and one adult donor can typically provide up to 20 skin grafts.

    When her facility ships large amounts of skin ? as it did to New Zealand this week ? it packs 30 to 40 pieces into each box, with about 60 pounds of dry ice to keep it cold. The pieces are typically half or a quarter of a square foot each. Because the organization is nonprofit, it only charges for processing fees, which include testing to ensure the skin is safe to use, and shipping, she said.

    Her organization tries to keep the maximum amount of cadaver skin it can fit in its facilities at any given time. And demand is high.

    Brian Gastman, medical and surgical director of the melanoma and high-risk skin cancer program at the Cleveland Clinic, said that when doctors perform a skin graft, they don?t try to match the graft to a patient?s skin tone, because they know it will be replaced soon after.

    ?When you?re beggars, you can?t be choosers,? Gastman said. ?You?re using this for a specific purpose: to keep a barrier. You don?t care how you get it or how temporary it is, you?ll just keep replacing it.?

    In some cases, depending on the depth or severity of the burn, doctors may opt to use pig, fish or synthetic skin to treat a patient, said Taryn Travis, an attending burn surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. That can at times mean using a combination of options on a single patient.

    One person could have ?an arm that can be treated with pig skin but a foot that needs cadaver skin,? Travis said. ?You might have a patient with skin from multiple different donors on the same wound because you take what you can get.?

    Some patients opt not to use pig skin for religious reasons, she said.

    At MedStar?s burn center, Travis said, cadaver skin is kept in a special freezer set to minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit. The skin is then thawed in a warm solution just before it?s used in treatment.

    The scale of burns and sheer number of victims in New Zealand have overwhelmed the country?s hospitals.

    On Friday, Watson, the Counties Manukau chief medical officer, told Radio New Zealand that all 13 Australian burn victims had been transferred home, a move he said will allow them to be closer to their families and ?really take the pressure off our New Zealand burns units.?

    That leaves 15 other victims being treated in New Zealand ? including many foreigners ? 11 of whom are in critical condition. Friday would be the first night all week that doctors did not have to perform overnight surgeries. At least one burn specialist from Australia has arrived in New Zealand to help with the workload, and others foreign doctors are likely travel to New Zealand soon, Watson said.

    John Kenealy, clinical director of surgery and perioperative services at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, told reporters Wednesday that his team expects to perform around 500 hours of surgery in the coming days and weeks.

    ?This number of burns at one time is certainly unprecedented in New Zealand, and it?s unprecedented in most countries in the world,? he said. ?Fortunately, these are rare events.?
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    WHAKATANE, New Zealand ? The eruption was so silent that Lillani Hopkins didn?t hear it over the hum of the boat?s engines. She didn?t turn around until her dad whacked her.

    Then she saw it. Huge clouds of ash and steam shooting into the sky. She was so excited, she grabbed her phone out of her dad?s bag and hit record. But then the plume stopped going up and started rolling out over the cliffs ? and her awe turned to fear.

    Just under the surface of the crater, pressure had been building for months. Now the super-heated water, about 150 degrees Celsius, or 300 Fahrenheit, burst out in a powerful spray. The blast also contained ash, rocks and a few boulders the size of exercise balls, but it was likely the scalding water that was most deadly.

    There were 47 tourists on New Zealand?s White Island at the time of Monday?s eruption: 24 from Australia, nine from the U.S., five New Zealanders and others from Germany, Britain, China and Malaysia. Many had taken a day trip from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. Authorities believe 16 people were killed, including several who died later in hospitals. Those who survived the blast had terrible burns and some ran into the sea screaming ? a screaming that would not stop.

    Three weeks earlier, New Zealand?s seismic monitoring agency GeoNet had raised the alert level on the island from 1 to 2, on a scale where 5 is a major eruption. The agency had noted the water level in the crater lake had been rising since August and that over the previous few weeks there had been an increase in sulfur dioxide gas, which comes from magma deep in the volcano. Many people around the world have asked: How could the tours of the island continue in the face of such warning signs?

    One answer may be that people in New Zealand are used to living on a giant seismic fault line that arcs around the Pacific Ocean. They ski on mountains that sometimes belch dark ash onto the snow, and take hikes past pools of boiling mud. They carry on working as minor earthquakes rattle cups from shelves. And they?ve toured White Island for decades, marveling as it steams and belches.

    The country?s tourism industry thrives on adventure spiced with a little danger. A 2 on the scale? White Island Tours, the island?s sole tour operator, decided to carry on. Company chairman Paul Quinn issued a statement Wednesday saying that while many questions remain, its priority for now is helping those affected.

    Lillani, a 22-year-old student who has studied volcanoes, had taken her dad, Geoff, a pastor, to the island for a 50th birthday present on Monday. Their group?s two guides told them to wear hard hats. They gave them gas masks, which the guides said they could wear if they had trouble with their breathing.

    The guides told them the sulfur dioxide and other gases on the island turn acidic when mixed with their saliva, and gave them candies to suck. Lillani has asthma and found she needed to wear the mask near the crater. Her dad noticed his throat getting sore.

    As they walked around the island, Lillani was full of enthusiasm, and questions. She asked her guide: What do we do if it erupts? Strap on your mask and take shelter, he told her. Run to the shipping container that?s over there for emergencies, it?s full of supplies.

    Aside from their two guides, Lillani and her dad were the only New Zealanders in their tour group. The others were from Asia, America, Europe. Some didn?t speak much English. Lillani loved every moment on the island, which is also known by the Maori name Whakaari.

    After 90 minutes, the group got back on the boat, and was just a couple of football fields away from the shore when the volcano erupted. The crew told them to get below deck. Then they asked for people with medical training, and Lillani and her dad, who had both trained in first aid, joined two doctors on deck. A dinghy ferried the injured aboard, 23 in all.

    Lillani had never seen anything like it. Welts and burns that covered every inch of exposed skin. People?s faces coated in gray paste, their eyes covered so they couldn?t see, their tongues thickened so they couldn?t talk. Some of them still screaming.

    Passengers passed Lillani bottles of water. She rinsed out mouths, cleaned eyes and poured as much water on the burns as she could. The boat appeared to be filled with discarded gray rubber gloves. But they weren?t gloves, they were husks of skin that had peeled away from people?s bodies. Many were burned even under their clothes, and Lillani needed to cut them away.

    As she poured water on some people?s burns, it only seemed to make them worse. So other passengers began handing her their clothes to make cold compresses, some of them stripping down to their bras and underpants.

    Lillani talked to the injured, asked them questions about their vacations, trying to distract them and keep them conscious. She began singing her church songs. She stopped for a moment, embarrassed that she wasn?t much of singer. Somebody grabbed her leg: Please keep going.

    The boat was flying, trying to make the hourlong trip back to shore as quickly as possible. Halfway back, the coast guard met them and two paramedics jumped aboard. They gave some of the injured medication, but others were so severely burned the paramedics couldn?t find their veins.

    Many of the injured were asking about their loved ones. An elderly couple from Australia had become separated, the wife unable to move. So Lillani found the husband and led him by the hand back to her. He sat down and held her in his arms.

    When they finally got back to shore, Lillani says all 23 of those she helped were still breathing. But she hasn?t had any contact with them since and doesn?t know if they all survived.

    Thirty-nine people were taken from the island that day on Lillani?s boat and in helicopters. Five were already dead or died soon after. A sixth person who was being treated for burns at an Auckland hospital died on Tuesday night. Thirty others remain hospitalized, with 25 in critical condition. New Zealand?s burns units are working around the clock trying to keep those people alive, performing operations on them and skin grafts.

    Lillani has just about finished her studies in geography and sociology at Waikato University and is looking forward to a career in teaching. She still loves volcanoes, she says, and being able to experience active ones is a privilege she hopes others will continue to be able to enjoy.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...6da_story.html
    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
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    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50798205

    16 People Reported dead in the New Zealand Volcano

    A person who was being treated in hospital after the eruption of New Zealand's White Island volcano has died, bringing the official death toll to 16, police say.

    The victim, who has not been identified, died in Australia after being repatriated for treatment.

    About 20 people remain in intensive care with severe burns.

    Meanwhile, recovery teams returned to the volcanic island on Sunday but were unable to locate two remaining bodies.

    Eight police search and rescue personnel were deployed for 75 minutes to an area in which at least one of the bodies was believed to be. "We have found no further bodies in that area," Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement told reporters.

    What we know of the victims
    Volcano tourism in the spotlight
    Why skin is being imported
    Police said they remained committed to retrieving the bodies and that police and military divers would continue to search the waters around White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari. On Saturday, teams faced contaminated waters and poor visibility after one body was spotted in the water.

    "There was every chance that the second body was also in the sea," Mr Clement said, "but we wanted to clear the area today [Sunday], which is effectively what today's exercise was about."

    There had been no further significant activity in White Island since last Monday's eruption but the risk of eruption remained, Geoff Kilgour, a volcanologist with GNS Science, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

    What about the identification of the victims?
    The identification process is being carried out in Auckland by experts including a pathologist, a forensic dentist and a fingerprint officer.

    Four more victims were named by police on Sunday, including 24-year-old New Zealand tour guide Tipene James Te Rangi Ataahua Maangi.

    The other three, all Australians, were 15-year-old Zoe Ella Hosking and her 53-year-old stepfather Gavin Brian Dallow, as well as 51-year-old Anthony James Langford.

    On Saturday, 21-year-old Krystal Eve Browitt, also from Australia, was the first person identified.

    Police are gathering information about possible victims, such as descriptions of appearance, clothing, photos, fingerprints, medical and dental records and DNA samples. These details will then be matched to the evidence gathered in the post-mortem examination.

    Out of the 47 people on the island when the eruption happened, 24 were from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one from Malaysia.

    On Monday, a minute's silence will be observed in New Zealand at 14:11 local time (01:11 GMT) to mark one week since the eruption.

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