10 Australians missing, presumed dead in NZ

White Island. Photo: Getty
White Island. Photo: Getty

AT least 10 Australians are missing, presumed dead after the New Zealand volcano explosion, with the prime minister warning there will be more bad news in the days ahead.

Some of the 24 Australians who were on White Island when Monday’s explosion occurred have been confirmed dead by family and friends.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “Sadly, there are 10 further Australians who are missing and presumed deceased.”

He said five injured Australians had already been flown home, with seven more to follow over the next 24 hours.

White Island as seen from the air in May, 2019. Photo: Maxar Technologies/AAP

Mr Morrison also revealed four permanent residents of Australia had been caught up in the disaster: two who died in hospital, one missing, presumed dead, and one other who remains in hospital.

He said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Thursday morning that the island remained volatile, with conditions too dangerous to allow for the recovery of bodies.

“We know that with quite a number of persons still on the island, understood to be deceased, that we will just have to be patient while circumstances are continually reviewed.”

Mr Morrison said the injured Australians faced a very tough road ahead and “will have difficult rehabilitations as a result of their injuries” in many cases.

NZ VOLCANO ERUPTION – THE AUSTRALIAN TOLL SO FAR

* Brisbane woman Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20.

* Adelaide man Gavin Dallow, 53.

* Mr Dallow’s family says his stepdaughter, 15-year-old Zoe Hosking, is missing presumed dead on White Island, but this is not officially confirmed.

* Coffs Harbour couple Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32.

* Their friend Jason Griffiths died in hospital with burns to 80 per cent of his body.

* Teenage brothers Berend and Matthew Hollander have been confirmed dead by their Sydney school Knox Grammar. Their parents Martin and Barbara Hollander remain unaccounted for.

* Melbourne woman Krystal Browitt, 21, is missing, presumed dead but this is not officially confirmed.

* Fears are also held for another Sydney family: Anthony and Kristine Langford, son Jesse, 19, and daughter Winona, 17.

* Some of 10 of the Australians in hospitals across New Zealand have been transported to Sydney and Melbourne on special RAAF flights.

– AAP