Disasters & Accidents

German man dies following White Island disaster, raising death toll to 22

Sydney, Australia, Nov 26 (EFE).- A man has died while being treated for injuries sustained in the eruption of Whakaari/White Island volcano last year, becoming the 22nd victim of the disaster, New Zealand Police said Thursday.

Sixty-four-year-old German man Horst Westenfelder died on July 2 at a hospital overseas, police said in a statement.

Westenfelder died “due to medical complications while receiving treatment for injuries he received on Whakaari/White Island.”

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr Westenfelder who have requested privacy as they are still coming to terms with the death of their much-loved husband, father and grandfather,” it said.

Westenfelder’s wife Angelika said he “lost this battle and started his last journey in July.”

“It is unbelievable how many months my joyful, sensible and strong husband ‘Horsti’ was fighting for his life and I am thankful to everyone who was thinking of us and helping us during that very hard time,” she said in the statement.

“It is an irreplaceable loss for our family, his friends and of course for myself. In loving memory of a full and exciting life. I will always miss you,” she added.

In total, 47 people – 24 Australians, nine Americans, five New Zealanders, four Germans, two Britons, two Chinese and a Malaysian citizen – were on the island when the volcano erupted on Dec. 9.

Two weeks later on Dec. 24, New Zealand authorities called off the search for missing New Zealand tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian Winona Langford, 17, a week after the mission was scaled back due to no items of significance being found.

The New Zealand authorities opened two investigations into the incident on the privately-owned island.

The 321-meter-high volcano, 70 percent of which is below sea level, is one of New Zealand’s most active, and a popular tourist attraction. In 2018 it was visited by more than 17,500 people.

Located at the southeastern end of the Ring of Fire, Whakaari also erupted in 2016 but did not cause any fatalities.

The deadliest incident at the site occurred in 1914 when 10 miners died as a result of a landslide caused by the collapse of part of the volcano’s crater. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button