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White Island photographs shared for first time since volcano erupted in New Zealand

A filmmaker has captured the first images of White Island since the New Zealand volcano erupted and killed 21 people on Dec. 9 last year. 

Geoff Mackley went out to the island, 70 kilometres off the North Island coast, and sent up a drone to capture ‘eerie’ images of how the volcanic island looks now, ten months on from the disaster.

Forty-seven people were on the island when its volcano erupted, and only 26 people made it out alive, many with lifelong disfiguring and painful scarring.

Mackley said it was unnerving being out at the island, saying he ‘thought about what went on out there and how terrible it would have been.’ 








A filmmaker has captured the first images of White Island less than a year after its volcano erupted and killed 21 people

A filmmaker has captured the first images of White Island less than a year after its volcano erupted and killed 21 people

Geoff Mackley stopped his boat near the shoreline of the death trap that sits just 70 kilometres off New Zealand's North Island

Geoff Mackley stopped his boat near the shoreline of the death trap that sits just 70 kilometres off New Zealand’s North Island

Although Mackley kept a safe distance away, he could still smell the sulphur emanating from the island

Although Mackley kept a safe distance away, he could still smell the sulphur emanating from the island

The few man-made structures on the island were obliterated by the eruption, with an abandoned helicopter the only physical reminder of the island’s former status as a tourist drawcard.

Trips out to the island once brought in more than $4million a year but it is now deserted, with the layers of ash a reminder of the disaster. 

‘It’s not like it was before, where there was clearly defined tracks,’ Mackley said. 

‘They’ve been totally obliterated. It’s like no-one has ever been there. So yeah, it’s pretty eerie.’ 

 It was now deemed too dangerous for tourists to return, and Mackley himself kept a safe distance.

‘I know that it can blow up without warning at any time,’ he told Stuff. ‘It’s Russian roulette.

‘Something’s not highly likely to happen today, but if you were going out there every day, something will happen eventually.’ 

The eruption trapped tourists on the island, many unable to outrun the plumes of acidic gas and ash that surrounded them.

Some saw their entire families wiped out, others suffered excruciating burns to nearly all of their bodies and many have undergone dozens of surgeries or been placed into long comas.

Among the list of victims was Melbourne father Paul Browitt and his 21-year-old daughter Krystal. 

His 23-year-old daughter Stephanie received third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost a number of her fingers. 

She was one of the few survivors who was airlifted off the island by a rescue helicopter. 

What was once a tourism hotspot that brought in more than $4million a year, was now a deserted and burned up wasteland

What was once a tourism hotspot that brought in more than $4million a year, was now a deserted and burned up wasteland

The burned skeletal remains of tourism buildings stand alone and look ready to tumble at any moment

The burned skeletal remains of tourism buildings stand alone and look ready to tumble at any moment

A damaged helicopter with a broken blade is one of the few things that remains standing on the island

A damaged helicopter with a broken blade is one of the few things that remains standing on the island

A white plume of smoke puffs out of the resting volcano

The island has remained deserted since its eruption in December 2019

The eruption trapped tourists on the island, many unable to outrun the plumes of acidic gas and ash that surrounded them

Photographs showed only one, damaged helicopter remains on the island.

The force of the eruption had lifted the vehicle off its landing pad and badly bent one of its main rotor blades.   

The burned remains of a building are one of the few things still standing on the abandoned island

The burned remains of a building are one of the few things still standing on the abandoned island

Authorities have stopped anyone from visiting the island since its eruption in December 2019

Authorities have stopped anyone from visiting the island since its eruption in December 2019

Mackley lamented the fact there were plenty of hours in the day when the island was deserted and the volcano could have erupted

Mackley lamented the fact there were plenty of hours in the day when the island was deserted and the volcano could have erupted

Australian victims in White Island tragedy: The dead and injured

24 Australians were among 47 tourists on New Zealand’s White Island when it erupted.   

THE DEAD: 

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, from Brisbane.

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead

Martin Hollander and his wife Barbara

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney.

His two sons Berend, 16, and Matthew, 13, who attended Sydney’s Knox Grammar, both died in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the blast.  

According to his Linkedin profile, Mr Hollander works at Transport for NSW as a freight initiatives manager.

He is also a director at a Singaporean investment management firm, Wipunen Incrementum Capital.

He was on a family holiday with his wife, who remains unaccounted for, and two kids, who were confirmed dead on Thursday. 

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was formally identified on Monday. His wife Barbara (left) is yet to be formally identified

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was formally identified on Monday. His wife Barbara (left) is yet to be formally identified 

Gavin Dallow, 53, and stepdaughter Zoe Hosking, 15, from Adelaide 

Lisa Dallow's 15-year-old daughter Zoe (pictured) has been confirmed dead

Gavin Dallow, from Adelaide, has been confirmed dead

The Hosking/Dallow family had been on a tour at the time of the eruption. Mum Lisa Dallow is among the injured in hospital. Her husband Gavin (right) 53, and 15-year-old daughter Zoe, from Adelaide, (left) were confirmed dead on Wednesday 

Mr Dallow’s body was identified by police from the five bodies recovered from the island. Zoe was formally identified as a victim on Sunday. 

Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, from Coffs Harbour, NSW 

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

The couple were identified as those tourists still on the island and therefore presumed dead by their families.

Jason Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour, NSW  

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday 

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, died from his injuries after being taken to hospital in critical condition.  

He had been on a tour of the volcano with couple Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, who are now presumed dead, friends said.  

Matthew (Year 8) and Berend Hollander (Year 10) from Sydney

Matthew Hollander

Berend Hollander

Matthew (left, year eight) and Berend (right, year 10) Hollander were confirmed dead on Thursday morning

Knox Grammar schoolboy brothers Matthew, 13, and Berend, 16, Hollander.

They died in two New Zealand hospitals after escaping the island with horrific burns. 

Their father Martin was confirmed dead.

Krystal Browitt, 21, from Melbourne, and her father Paul

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family

Ms Browitt was on the Ovation of the Seas cruise for her 21st birthday with family.

Mr Browitt died on 13 January in hospital.

Their mother Marie escaped death by staying on the cruise liner. 

Anthony Langford, 51, and his wife Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney 

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday 

Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney, is also among those dead. 

The couple’s 19-year-old son Jesse survived the volcano eruption, and is recovering in hospital with burns to 90 per cent of his body.   

Mr Langford worked for Sydney Water. 

Winona Langford, 17, Sydney   

Police said Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived

Police said Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived 

NZ Police said one of the bodies still missing on White Island belonged to 17-year-old Winona Langford from Sydney. 

Winona’s mother and father have been confirmed dead.

Her body is either entombed on the deadly volcano island or is in the sea.  

THE INJURED: 

Lisa Dallow, 49, from Adelaide

Lisa Dallow (right with her husband Gavin who is missing), 49, from Adelaide

Lisa Dallow (right with her husband Gavin who is missing), 49, from Adelaide

She was an induced coma in Hamilton Hospital, with 57 per cent of her body burnt.

Jesse Langford, 19, Sydney

Found: Jesse Langford (pictured with Michelle Spring, believed to be his girlfriend) is in hospital but his condition is not clear

Found: Jesse Langford (pictured with Michelle Spring, believed to be his girlfriend) is in hospital but his condition is not clear

He is reported to have suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body.

 

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