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Moment horrified tourists flee New Zealand volcano which killed 22 people

Moment horrified tourists flee New Zealand volcano which killed 22 people

Never-before-seen footage has been released from the moment the Whakaari volcano erupted in December 2019.

Warning: The content in this article may be distressing to some readers

Footage showing the moment terrified tourists ran for safety during a volcano eruption has been released.

The never-before-seen-footage, recorded on 9 December, 2019, shows the moment the tourists, who were on a New Zealand island, realised a volcanic eruption was happening.

A group of unsuspecting tourists can be seen running for their lives a few seconds before the eruption in the footage.

The volcano, known as Whakaari, is located on White Island.

Of the 22 deaths, 17 people were from Australia, while three were from the United States and two from New Zealand.

Another 25 people were injured with many suffering burns.

The tourists in the video can be seen hiding behind rocks.

The volcanic eruption can be seen in the video.
Auckland District Court

The shocking footage was played in court on Tuesday (11 July) as part of the criminal trial of three tourism companies and three directors who have been charged with safety breaches.

The trial has heard that the valance, which is the country’s most active volcano, had shown signs of unrest for weeks before the eruption on 9 December 2019.

White Island used to be a popular sightseeing destination and was visited by thousands of tourists every year, tourists have not been back since the tragedy in December 2019.

The volcano was rated at Volcanic Alert Level 2 at the time of the disaster, indicating ‘moderate to heightened volcanic unrest’. It had been erupting in some form since 2011.

Tourists can be seen running for safety.
Auckland District Court

If found guilty, the six parties face fines of up to NZ$1.5m (£724,000).

In December 2020, 13 parties were initially charged with exposing people to risk of harm under the health and safety act. The parties were accused of failing to assess and mitigate risks, to adequately inform tourists about the dangers involved and to provide protective equipment.

WorkSafe chief executive, Phil Parkes, said at the time: “This was an unexpected event, but that does not mean it was unforeseeable and there is a duty on operators to protect those in their care.”

The charges do not relate to events during or after the eruption. The defendants include companies which did not have tourists at the volcano at the time.

As of now, the case against one tour operator has been dropped and another six pleaded guilty before the trial.

The trial is expected to last four months.

Featured Image Credit: NZ Herald

Topics: World News, News