National | Disaster

Seventeenth person dies in hospital following Whakaari eruption

Police have confirmed another person has died in Middlemore Hospital last night following the Whakaari, White Island eruption.

The death brings the official number of deceased to 17, 16 of whom died in New Zealand and one in Australia, says Deputy Commissioner and National Operations Commander John Tims.

He says police were advised of the death shortly before 11pm.

Meanwhile, the recovery effort for two missing people following the eruption is still ongoing.

They are 40-year-old tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman and 17-year-old Australian tourist Winona Langford.

On Wednesday last week Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement said recovery operators believed their bodies were washed off the crater into the sea.

"It is my strong view, but I cannot be absolutely positive, that the two bodies - Winona Langford and Hayden Inman - were washed out to sea,” Clement said.

Operators have done drift pattern modelling to predict where one body may have ended up.

"What we can say is there's no guarantee that a body caught in that tidal pattern would end up at landfall. In fact, it could just as easily be carried over top of the East Cape and out to the Southern Ocean."