Asia-Pacific

NZ volcano eruption: Adelaide man’s body identified, 15-year-old step-daughter still missing

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New Zealand Police have identified the body of Adelaide man Gavin Dallow. His 15-year-old step-daughter Zoe Hosking is also presumed dead in the White Island volcano eruption

The body of Adelaide man Gavin Dallow, who had been missing since the New Zealand volcano eruption, has been found and identified by police, his family has confirmed.

The family says Mr Dallow's step-daughter, 15-year-old Zoe Hosking, is also presumed dead with her body on White Island.

Gavin and Lisa Dallow. Ms Dallow remains in hospital with serious burns.
Gavin and Lisa Dallow. Ms Dallow remains in hospital with serious burns.
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His wife, and Zoe's mother, Lisa Dallow, remains in hospital in Hamilton with serious burns.

“Gavin was a wonderful son and brother. We’ll miss him a the cricket and we’ll miss him at the football. He was a generous man,” a statement from the Dallow family read.

“Our hearts break at the loss of Zoe at such a young age.”

Earlier, hopes that a Queensland mother and daughter may have miraculously survived the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand were "snuffed out", when it emerged the pair were also among the dead.

Julie Richards and her daughter Jessica are the first Australians to be identified as victims of Monday's eruption which has so far killed six people, with another eight people presumed dead after they were unable to escape White Island.

"You obviously live in hope that's it not going to be your loved one's name that comes up, but the hope was snuffed out this morning with the message from the New Zealand police," John Mickel said on Wednesday.

"Now we have the festive season, which will be celebrated by so many Queenslanders, but for this family, it will be one of deep poignancy."

He said their family was "united in grief".

Brisbane mother Julie Richards, 47, and her 20-year-old daughter Jessica.
Brisbane mother Julie Richards, 47, and her 20-year-old daughter Jessica.
Twitter

He said Ms Richards, 47, and Jessica, 20, had been extremely excited about their cruise holiday with the liner Ovation of the Seas, which included the trip to White Island.

Their family frantically called hospitals and authorities following the eruption after receiving no contact from them.

The call they were dreading came through from authorities at about 10.30am on Wednesday.

The active Whakaari/White Island stratovolcano exploded on Monday, while 47 people were on the island.

At least four Australians have been killed, 13 injured and around 10 are unaccounted for. Some of the injured have severe burns to over 30 per cent of their body.

New Zealand authorities are trying to work out if they can get crews to the island off the east coast of the North Island to recover more bodies.

But the prospects aren't good after GeoNet, the local agency that gathers volcano data, noted increased activity since 4am local time. 

"This morning volcanic tremor has significantly increased at Whakaari/White Island indicating that volcanic gas pressures remain high," a statement read.

A memorial has been set up near the White Island Tours base in the Bay of Plenty.
A memorial has been set up near the White Island Tours base in the Bay of Plenty.
Abbie O'Brien

"This has been accompanied by vigorous steaming and localised mud jetting in several of the craters created by the eruption on Monday.

"We interpret these signals as evidence of continued high gas pressures within the volcano."

Eruptions remain "likely" to occur within the next 24 hours.

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NZ authorities warn of a second eruption
NZ authorities warn of a second eruption

Some 33 people were hospitalised for burns, including Australians.

On Tuesday, the New Zealand Ministry of Health said some of these individuals will be transferred to Australia, as local burns units are under immense pressure.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the ministry told SBS News these transfers are "likely to begin" in the next 24 hours.

Police Minister Stuart Nash updated Radio New Zealand on those injured earlier Wednesday.

"There are a number of people in hospital who cannot communicate because they have significant burns not only to skin but to internal organs," Mr Nash said.

"They cannot speak ... or communicate."

A number of Australians are still missing, from around the country.

The headmaster of Sydney's Knox Grammar School Scott James confirmed in a letter that students Matthew Hollander and Berend Hollander, along with their parents Martin Hollander and Barbara Hollander were among the missing.

"We are in close contact with the relatives and they are providing us with updates. Limited information is available at this time," Mr James said.

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"With a close circle of friends, Matt has been popular amongst his peers. Matthew has always been enthusiastic about life and involved in many school and year group activities," a Knox statement said.

His older brother has a passion for AFL, cadets and baseball, the school says.

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall said six bodies have been flown to Auckland for post-mortem examinations, but "ante-mortem" data was also being examined.

"That is information about the person we believe to be deceased gathered before their death," she said.

One of the tours earlier this year.
One of the tours earlier this year.
Supplied

"For example, what they were last wearing, what jewellery they might have, any scars or tattoos that might identify them.

"There will be people, we hope, at the scene of this tragedy, gathering evidence from there."

White Island Tour operators rescuing people from the island after the eruption.
White Island Tour operators rescuing people from the Island after the eruption.
Twitter / Michael Schade

Among the 47 people on the island during Monday's eruption, there were 24 Australians, nine Americans, five Kiwis, four Germans, two Britons and Chinese and one Malaysian.

Whakaari erupted on Monday.
Whakaari erupted on Monday.
EPA

Stratovolcanoes are tall and conical in shape and are the most dangerous volcanos in the world.

The White Island volcano, a well-known tourist and scientific attraction, has been emitting volcanic gas and smoke for decades, if not centuries.

Additional reporting: Nick Baker

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