Kiwi Skipper Hailed A Hero For Ferrying New Zealand Volcano Eruption Survivors To Safety
A New Zealand tour operator is being called a hero after he bravely put his life on the line to ferry survivors of the White Island volcano eruption to safety.
White Island Tours boat skipper Paul Kingi leapt into action when the volcano blew its top on Monday afternoon.
Pursuit Fishing Charters page owner Rick Pollock took to Facebook to praise Paul for his efforts in the face of danger.
"As with most disasters there will be people who step up, heroes and heroines if you will," he wrote in a Facebook post. "Sometimes these people will be the ones you expect, strong individuals in character and strength.
"Other times it's ones you least expect who take control of an arduous situation to the benefit of all involved.
"Yesterday was no exception with one man standing out, one Paul Kingi."
Rick added that Paul used to work for him for five years and described him as the man you'd want in a dire situation because he handles himself brilliantly under pressure.
When the volcano erupted earlier this week, Paul had only just left White Island, but he turned his boat around and immediately started helping people who were stranded.
More Like This
Pollock continued: "He went back again and again, ignoring the toxic environment and personal risk, until he was satisfied there were no more obvious survivors remaining. This superhuman effort doesn't surprise me in the least as I've seen this fine man in action on numerous occasions, always controlling a bad situation.
"I'd like to recognise Paul for what he is on this occasion, nothing less than a hero."
Six people have been confirmed dead in the volcanic eruption with eight more people unaccounted for. Twenty-five people are listed as in a critical condition in hospital and there are loads of victims who have suffered catastrophic burns to their bodies.
In addition to the body burns, some had suffered injuries as a result of inhaling sulphur dioxide, methane and other chemicals when the eruption spewed the elements into the air.
Seismologists have noticed White Island hasn't stopped with activity.
GeoNet said: "The level of volcanic tremor has significantly increased at the island. This has been accompanied by vigorous steaming and localised mud jetting in several of the craters created by the eruption on Monday.
"We interpret these signals as evidence of continued high gas pressures within the volcano."
Police are planning on flying a drone to the island today to assess the situation.
Featured Image Credit: NZ Herald