Sydney teen Jesse Langford is the only member of his family who is alive and accounted for after New Zealand’s deadly volcanic eruption.
The 19-year-old remains in a coma after his parents Kristine, 45, and Anthony, 51 were killed in the eruption last Monday.
His sister Winona Langford, 17, is one of two victims whose bodies authorities haven’t yet located or retrieved from the island. While both victims are assumed dead, police have confirmed the Sydney teen and New Zealand tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, remain unaccounted for.
Jesse was flown from a New Zealand hospital for treatment in Sydney on the weekend and could wake to the news his entire family is gone.
It is understood he suffered burns to 80-90 per cent of his body and is currently in a coma in Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital, where relatives have visited him according to The Australian.
The 19-year-old graduated Sydney’s Marist College in 2018, and is a student at the University of Technology, Sydney.
PILOT’S UNTHINKABLE CHOICE
The news comes after a pilot who went to rescue people after the explosion revealed he saw Mr Marshall-Inman alive but tragically didn’t have time to save him.
Police were forced to postpone their recent search for the missing pair due to wild weather.
The retrieval operation has already seen six bodies recovered from the island, with Ms Langford and Mr Marshall-Inman being the last two missing.
The Langfords were remembered as “loving parents” to their teenagers and a “wonderful couple”.
“They will be greatly missed by all who knew them.”
Mr Marshall-Inman was leading a tour around the island when the eruption occurred.
Last week his brother Mark epitomised families’ frustrations with stalled recovery efforts, putting the delay down to “red tape, bureaucracy” and failed leadership, while offering to go to the island himself.
But on Friday after the first recovery attempt he praised those involved for their efforts.
“It’s going to allow us to grieve and send our loved ones off in the manner they deserve,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
A helicopter pilot who went to White Island to rescue victims immediately after the eruption said he saw Mr Marshall-Inman “in a pretty bad way”.
Pilot Tom Storey told local media he moved the tour guide to a more comfortable location while he helped other survivors, but was unable to get him off the island at the time.
Mark said that Mr Storey had told him it appeared his brother had been trying to help those in need.
“His footsteps were going back to help on White Island,” he said.
“He was a true hero.”
Strong winds and rain have made finding the final bodies extremely difficult, with an Eagle helicopter being forced to return to shore this morning after leaving at dawn to continue the search.
Specialist dive teams have been searching the area around the island as it is not known whether the bodies are still on the land or in the water.
However, water-based search has now be ruled out due to storms being forecast.
Some 47 people were on the island when the active volcano blew ash, hot liquid and steam almost three metres into the sky.
There were 28 Australians, including four permanent residents, in the group.
The death toll currently stands at 16.
NZ Police on Tuesday also released the names of three more Australians who have been officially identified.
They are Coffs Harbour man Richard Elzer, 32, Sydney-based US citizen Barbara Hollander, 49, and Brisbane woman Julie Richards, 47.
Krystal Browitt, 21, Melbourne
Zoe Hosking, 15, Adelaide
Gavin Dallow, 53, Adelaide
Jessica Richards, 20, Brisbane
Jason Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour
Karla Mathews 32, Coffs Harbour
Martin Hollander, 48, Sydney
Matthew Hollander, 13, US citizen and Australian permanent resident
Berend Hollander, 16, US citizen and Australian permanent resident
Barbara Hollander 49, US citizen and Australian permanent resident
Richard Elzer, 32, Coffs Harbour
Julie Richards, 47, Brisbane
Kristine Langford, 45, Sydney
Anthony Langford, 51, Sydney
Tīpene James Te Rangi Ataahua Maangi, 24, New Zealand
Australian man who died in a Sydney hospital on December 14. Family requested that his details not be released.
STILL MISSING, PRESUMED DEAD
Winona Jane Langford, 17, Australian.
Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40, New Zealander.