SCRIPT & AUDIO: White Island eruption [Dec 18, 2019]


Did you hear about the White Island eruption?

John Millen |

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White Island eruption


Voice 1:  Did you hear about the White Island eruption? I heard on the radio last night that the dead toll has risen to 16 after a victim died of severe burns in hospital last night.

Voice 2:  It’s a real tragedy, but one that could have been avoided. There was a tour group that signed up for an adventure trip on Bay of Plenty when White Island erupted. From what I read in the news, seismic monitoring experts raised the eruption alert level three weeks before the volcano blew.

Voice 1:  Oh really? I thought the eruption happened without warning.

Voice 2:  Not at all. On December 9, the afternoon the eruption took place, GNS Science, a geological science research organisation, even raised the island’s volcanic alert level and warned that the unrest could include eruptions of steam, gas, mud and rocks “with little or no warning”.

Voice 1:  Oh no! It’s shocking the tour group was allowed on the island. Who gave them permission to do so and to even walk inside the volcano’s rim?

Voice 2:  No one knows for sure. Right now, questions are being asked about who should be responsible for the victims.

Voice 1:  Critics have also asked why tours were allowed on the privately-owned island after the volcano most recent blast in the same area in 2016. In fact, White Island has been classified as New Zealand's most active volcano since 1976.

Voice 1:  It may be hindsight, but how many tourists would still have wanted to go there this week had they known all those details?

Voice 2:  I sure wouldn’t, but I know some thrill tourists definitely would not miss it for the world, especially if they knew there’s a chance of capturing the moment of eruption.

Voice 1:  Geez! That’s really dangerous. I agree with you though, I’d never risk my life for this.

Source: SCMP, December 12