Another person has died after a volcanic eruption in New Zealand last month that sent tourists scrambling as ash rained down.
Police confirmed on Monday the 18th official fatality from the eruption. Two other people are missing and presumed dead, though their bodies may never be recovered.
Paul Browitt and his two daughters were on White Island, also known as Whakaari, when the eruption occurred Dec. 9. He died Sunday at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. One of his daughters, Krystal, died on the island, and her body was recovered days later. His other daughter, Stephanie, is being treated at Alfred Hospital.
The hospital said in a statement that it was treating two patients, one in stable condition and the other in critical, for burns.
Browitt, an Australian, worked at Victoria’s State Revenue Office, where he was “highly respected and well-liked,” ABC News in Australia reported.
What is a cone volcano? The science behind the deadly New Zealand eruption
“Paul was a strong advocate and provided great support for his colleagues and was a good union member,” Karen Batt, the state secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, told the broadcaster. “It’s very sad for his family and his colleagues.”
When the volcano erupted, 47 people from around the world were on the island, a popular tourist destination, despite increases in seismic activity that had been recorded for weeks.
Thirteen people are believed to have died on the island. The others died from their burns and other injuries in the weeks that followed.
New Zealand authorities are investigating the circumstances around the disaster.
“These questions must be asked, and they must be answered,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Parliament in the days after the eruption.
According to GeoNet, which tracks New Zealand’s seismic and volcanic activity, White Island remains in a state of “moderate to heightened volcanic unrest.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/01/13/new-zealand-volcano-eruption-white-island-whakaari-death-toll-rises/4453387002/