New Zealand agency WorkSafe has filed a series of charges against 13 parties over last year’s Whakaari (White Island) volcanic proposal, which killed 22 people.
Ten parties are fined NZD 1. 5 million while three people are charged with due diligence and with maximum sentences of 300. 000 NZD will be fined, reported TVNZ.
Forty-seven people were 52 kilometers from Whakātane on the east coast of the North Island on the island when the volcano fell on Sept.. Last December broke out, showering tourists and guides with stones, ashes and toxic gases. Fourteen Australians, five Americans, two New Zealanders and a German citizen were killed in the tragedy or in complications.
Many survivors suffered horrific burns and Ngāti Awa-owned tour operator White Island Tours has been investigated for continuing to operate guided tours despite GNS Science raising its volcano warning to level 2 and banning its staff from walking two weeks earlier a week before the outbreak near vents.
Most of the island’s tourists at the time were from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship, and Royal Caribbean cruise line is facing legal action in Australia.
Four guides employed by White Island Tours were involved in the disaster – Hayden Marshall-Inman and Tipene Maangi died, while Jake Millbank and Kelsey Waghorn were badly burned.
In addition to the WorkSafe investigation, the police investigated the disaster on behalf of the coroner and announced last week that the total number of victims had risen to 22 after the death of 64-year-old Horst Westenfelder.
He died on Jan.. July at an overseas hospital where he was treated for injuries sustained in the outbreak.
« How many months has my joyful, sensible, and strong husband fought for his life, » she said.
« I am grateful to everyone who thought of us and helped us during this very difficult time.
“He lost this battle and started his last journey in July. It is an irreplaceable loss to our family, friends and of course me. I will always miss you. ”
White Island Tours passed the safety audits required by operators on WorkSafe’s adventure tourism registry and won the Small Business category for the 2018 Safest Places to Work Awards, which recognized the way in which the safety of crew and customers is managed tours become an active volcano.
White Island Tours has not publicly commented in detail on its decision-making processes, but Ngāti Awa Holdings chairman Paul Quinn previously told the media that they were more directly associated with GNS on level 3 and higher alerts, and level 2 still passed « within our operational guidelines. «
Following the disaster, WorkSafe confirmed that its investigation would check the registration status of anyone taking tours to Whakaari, which included a number of helicopter operators.
WorkSafe had repeatedly advised Volcanic Air, Kahu NZ and Aerius Helicopters that they should have been registered under the Adventure Activity Regulations. This call was repeated a few weeks before the December outbreak.
However, the helicopter operators said they had received conflicting advice as to whether their White Island ground tours would be subject to adventure activities regulations and they had waited months for a definitive response from WorkSafe.
Whakaari / White Island, New Zealand, Volcano, Australia
World News – AU – Thirteen indicted in the death of White Island volcano
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