White Island, Whakaari, death toll rises

Another person has died following a volcanic eruption in New Zealand last month that sent tourists scrambling as ash rained down.

New Zealand police confirmed 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 still 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.

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