Burn centers across New Zealand have filled to their limit as over two dozen victims are treated for horrific wounds suffered in a volcanic eruption on White Island, leaving many with burns on over 70 percent of their bodies.
At least 27 of the 31 people injured in the volcanic blast that rocked the island on Monday suffered severe burns covering over two-thirds of their skin, the government said in a statement, noting the possibility that some of the injured will not survive.
“All our burns units are full to capacity. Our plastic surgeons, hospital, anaesthetists are doing their best to treat the many who have sustained injuries,” said acting Ministry of Health adviser Dr. Pete Watson. “Twenty-seven of the 31 have suffered greater than 71 percent body surface burns.”
With five already confirmed killed, police said 8 people still missing likely did not make it, leaving only those who were able to flee immediately among the survivors.
“I would strongly suggest that there is no one that has survived on the island,” New Zealand Deputy Commission John Tims told reporters, adding “we are doing everything we can to get back to that island.”
Tims also noted that a criminal probe had been opened into the disaster, focused on the “circumstances of death and injuries on White Island,” which he said would be carried out alongside a separate investigation by regulatory agency WorkSafe.
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