Greek Australian Among the Dead in New Zealand’s Volcanic Eruption

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A Greek-Australian student was among the victims of the volcanic eruption at New Zealand’s White Island last week, authorities announced.

Krystal Eve Browitt, a veterinary nursing student from Melbourne, Australia who turned 21 on Nov. 29, was among the eighteen fatalities from the blast.

The Browitt family were holidaying on a cruise of a lifetime aboard the vessel “Ovation of the Seas.” Tragically, they were on White Island when the volcano suddenly erupted. While the mother of the family, Marie (Drakatou) Browitt, stayed behind on board the ship, her husband Paul and two daughters, Stephanie and Krystal, were on the island when the volcano erupted.

Paul and Stephanie Browitt are now in the hospital themselves, being treated for serious injuries.

Browitt was a “much-loved member of [her high school] community” and was described by teachers as “a beautiful soul,” the principal of her former high school tells the Age.

The majority of the victims of the eruption are from Australia but three US citizens who had been living in Australia and two New Zealanders are also among the dead or missing.

The volcano, also known as Whakatari, began erupting on December 9 just as several tours were taking place on the island, which is in the Bay of Plenty near the North Island of New Zealand.

At least 47 people were thought to have been on the island at the time of the eruption and 26 people are being treated in hospital for serious burns they sustained in the blast.