1 Dec 2020

Whakaari/White Island: Owners confirm they're facing charges

From Morning Report, 6:08 am on 1 December 2020

The owners of Whakaari/White Island have confirmed they are among those charged in relation to last year's deadly eruption.

On Tuesday the health and safety authority WorkSafe charged 10 organisations and three individuals over the eruption almost a year ago.

The island is owned by the Buttle family, through Whakaari Management Limited and its three directors, James, Peter and Andrew Buttle, who have confirmed they are the three individuals charged.

White Island Tours and Volcanic Air Safaris both say they're facing charges, and GNS Science and the National Emergency Management Agency have also waived name suppression.

WorkSafe says the Whakaari White island explosion was a tragedy that was unexpected but not unforseeable.

There were 47 people on the island when the volcano erupted, and 22 of them were killed or later died of their injuries.

WorkSafe's chief executive Phil Parkes says visitors to the island would have all expected the companies to have had their health and safety in mind.