Brother's fears mount that body will remain on Whakaari / White Island

12:49 pm on 12 December 2019

A man whose brother died on White Island after Monday's eruption fears his body will never be recovered because of officials' red tape.

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Hayden Marshall-Inman. Photo: Supplied/ Facebook/ Stephen Parker

Whakatāne tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman is one of eight people missing, presumed dead, on Whakaari / White Island.

Yesterday his brother, Mark Inman, who lives in nearby Ohope, emailed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash asking for a pardon if he assembled a team to go to the island to retrieve his brother's body.

He did not receive a reply - instead he found out on the 10pm news that Nash was turning down his request saying it was too dangerous.

Inman told Morning Report that with no-one willing to make a 50/50 call he was growing increasingly fearful that his brother's body would never be recovered.

A recovery mission has already been ruled out for today and an opportunity was missed yesterday afternoon, he said.

He had asked for a pardon because other people would need to be involved in returning to the island.

"...You can't just go out as a renegade by yourself - you have to have a team behind you that is willing to help.

"I've got a team of experts that would fly out and retrieve these bodies with the help of myself and a few others."

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Mark Inman, in the striped top, is pictured with other family members, including his brother Hayden Marshall-Inman, who is missing believed dead on Whakaari / White Island. Photo: Supplied / Facebook Mark Inman

The team would include local pilots and others who go into the island day in and day out and know the island inside out.

"They're the ones who moved the bodies and put them in positions so they could go back and retrieve them. They know exactly where they are and they're willing and are ready to go out and get these family victims back."

He was adamant they would not be putting more lives at risk - members of his team read the same statistical information that scientists read.

Asked if the fact that statistical readings would have been available on the day of the eruption, yet experienced people were still overtaken by events, he said there was a danger they would never go back to the island to retrieve the bodies if that attitude remained in place.

Read more on the Whakaari/White Island eruption:

He had taken some heart from the fact that last night, Mark Law, a commercial helicopter pilot who flew to the island to help immediately after the eruption, had been added to the leadership team for the recovery mission but was critical of the decision-making and communication with families so far.

He said Mr Nash had forced a reshuffle in police leadership because the communication over the disaster had been so poor - yet he could not communicate with Inman over his request.

"Yes we're grieving, yes it's tough, yes we're frustrated but hey we're humans, just talk to us."

Brother went back to help after the explosion

Inman said his brother was "a lovely man, a team player, he'd do anything for anyone".

This included taking tourists to other scenic attractions, such as the glow-worm caves and local walks in his own time. "He was that genuine kind-hearted young man.

"He went back to help after the explosion because there are footsteps showing he walked back to help.

"He died doing something he absolutely loved and would give the shirt off his back to help anyone."

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Hayden Marshall-Inman Photo: Supplied / Facebook Liz Evans

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