How Many People Died in the New Zealand Volcano Eruption?

March 11, 2024

A New Zealand court began a landmark trial regarding a deadly volcano eruption this week, with prosecutors alleging the owners of White Island broke health and safety regulations. "Profit should never come before safety," said Kirsty McDonald, who is prosecuting Andrew, James and Peter Buttle and their company Whakaari Management Limited (WML).

The Buttles and the tour-related companies they run are accused of allowing tourists to visit the active volcanic White Island while it was dangerous, according to New Zealand's Stuff News. A total of 22 people were killed when the volcano erupted, emitting acidic sludge and poisonous gases. The victims included 14 Australians, five Americans and two New Zealanders. A German man died in July due to complications from his injuries sustained at the site.

In the days following the disaster, family members of several victims spoke out to remember their loved ones. "I want them to be remembered as vibrant, fun-loving people who enjoyed and made the most of life," the sister of Gavin Dallow told PEOPLE. Her brother and 15-year-old stepdaughter Zoe were among the 22 people who died.

Meanwhile, the wife of American tourist Matthew Urey is recovering from third-degree burns that covered more than half of her body. She is undergoing regular skin grafts and has a long road ahead of her to fully heal. More than a dozen others injured in the eruption are also still rehabilitating from their injuries. Two of the victims, including a tour guide from New Zealand, are still missing and presumed dead.


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