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Published on Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Two Royal Caribbean passengers confirmed to have died in White Island eruption

Cruise passengers Julie Richards, aged 47, and her daughter Jessica Richards have been named as two of the six known to have died when a volcano erupted on White Island in New Zealand. The Australian mother and daughter were on an excursion to White Island from Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.

A newlywed couple, Matthew and Lauren from Urey in Virginia, were among other passengers from the cruise ship to have been badly injured. 

Matthew suffered 80% burns and Lauren suffered 20% burns. She was rushed to an Auckland hospital for surgery early yesterday while Matthew was airlifted to a hospital in Christchurch.

Two British women have also been confirmed among those injured on the island, but it is not known if they were also Royal Caribbean passengers.

New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed people from New Zealand, the US, China and Malaysia were also among those caught in the eruption.

A total of 47 people were on the island when the volcano erupted, 13 of them were Ovation passengers.

The ship postponed its sailing to Wellington until early this morning.

"A team will remain onsite in Tauranga and all hospital locations to ensure those affected by Monday's incident are taken care of in terms of medical help, counselling, accommodation, and transport," said a spokesperson for the cruise line.

A total of 30 people are being treated in hospital and eight others are still missing. 


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