Two Brothers From Chicago, Aged 13 and 16, Identified As Victims of New Zealand Volcano Eruption
Their parents are still unaccounted for.
Two teen brothers from Chicago were among those identified as victims of the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand.
Berend, 16, and Matthew Hollander, 13, died in the hospital as a result of their injuries from the tragic incident on Monday. Their parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander, are still unaccounted for, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The family moved from a north Chicago suburb to Australia about five years ago. Their mother was from the Chicago area and their father was Australian. Both sons went to school in the Chicago area.
They were visiting White Island on a tour when the volcano erupted.
"We are absolutely heartbroken by this loss," the family said in a statement released by the school the boys once attended. "Ben and Matthew were wonderfully kind and spirited boys who lived short but very fulsome lives.
Police believe there were 47 people on White Island, including nine Americans, at the time of the eruption. Many of those on the island were passengers of the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas cruise ship.
Since the eruption, the death toll has climbed to 16 people. On Friday morning, teams launched a recovery mission for the bodies still on the island, The Guardian reported. After the mission, two were still missing.
Experts are questioning why tours were permitted to White Island when seismic activity had been detected in the days before the eruption. “It’s a fair question to ask whether anyone should be allowed in an active crater at any given time,” Jozua van Otterloo, a volcanologist at Monash University, told the New York Times.
“In hindsight, it was an accident waiting to happen,” he added.
It remains unclear whether or not the island will again open up for tourist visitation.