HomeAustralia'We were thinking of them': Australian families return to NZ for first...

‘We were thinking of them’: Australian families return to NZ for first time since White Island volcanic eruption

Grieving Australians have gathered in New Zealand for a dawn service to mark the third anniversary of the While Island volcanic eruption.

It is the first time the families have returned to New Zealand since the tragedy.

The Whakaari volcano eruption was the deadliest in over a century, killing 22 people including 14 Australians, on December 9 in 2019.

When the volcano erupted at 2.11pm, 47 people were on the island and many survivors were forced to leave their families behind.

White Island New Zealand dawn service (Nine)
White Island New Zealand dawn service (Nine)

Australians had been unable to return to Whakatane on New Zealand’s east coast for anniversaries in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic but many have attended a dawn service this morning.

Tracey Rhodes from Fire and Emergency New Zealand was one of the emergency services workers first on the scene.

She said it was nice to “finally see” some of the affected Australians because she didn’t know how they had been going.

White Island New Zealand dawn service (Nine)

“I just wanted them to know we were thinking of them… It was nice to see them,” Rhodes said.

“For some reason today feels like it was quite a sad day, probably just meeting the families but it will be ok.

“It is lovely to see them (the Australian families) and I hope they get some comfort coming back and it is not to difficult for them.”

The dawn service was for everyone effected to remember, reflect and talk about the eruption.

More services are being held in the town today.

Source by [author_name]

- Advertisment -