NZ volcano: 17th victim dies in hospital

Wellington:

A person who was injured in the devastating December 9 eruption of the White Island/Whakaari has died in a hospital, bringing the official death toll to 17, a top police official said on Monday.

Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the person died on Sunday night at the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, reports The New Zealand Herald.

Bay of Plenty District Commander, Superintendent Andy McGregor said an extensive aerial search for further victims of the eruption was conducted by Coastguard and police over the weekend, between the island and the mainland.

But no further items of significance were located, he said.

On Monday, the police will review the search area to date and make a decision on further search activity.

There were 47 people on or near the island at 2.11 p.m. on December 9 when Whakaari/White Island erupted, spewing gas and ash into the air.

The police have confirmed the deaths of the 17 persons, with two more officially still listed as missing.

The bodies of Whakatane tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian tourist Winona Langford, 17, have not been found and are believed to have been washed out to sea.

A total of 25 people were still recovering in hospitals around New Zealand and Australia.

The Ministry of Health said that of the 25, nine were in critical condition, The New Zealand Herald reported.

Thirteen patients were transferred to Australia. One of those patients has since died.