An Australian mother and daughter have been confirmed dead after the massive New Zealand volcanic eruption — as a teen initially reported missing and feared dead has been found alive, according to new reports.
Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, were on board the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner and visited White Island as part of their trip, Perth News Now reported.
When their family did not hear from them after the Monday afternoon eruption, they desperately reached out to hospitals and authorities, according to the report.
Jessica was a veterinary technology student at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Family spokesperson John Mickel told the network that the family is “united in grief.”
“For this family, [the festive season] will be one of deep poignancy,” he said. “You live in hope that it’s not going to be your loved one’s name that comes up. The hope was snuffed out this morning.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeted her condolences to the family, who she said she personally knows.
“It’s with deep sadness we learn of the deaths of Julie and Jessica Richards in the New Zealand volcano tragedy,” she wrote. “I know members of the family. I know how much Julie and Jessica are loved and how terribly devastating their loss is.”
“I offer my profound condolences to everyone going through what this family is going through,” she added.
Meanwhile, Jesse Langford, 19 — of Sydney — who was initially deemed missing, was discovered among the injured at one of the country’s hospitals, his grandfather told 7 News Australia.
The extent of his injuries is unknown, according to the report.
Langford was on vacation with his parents and sister on White Island when the explosion happened, scorching dozens of people — mostly tourists — in its path.
The entire family was listed as missing on the New Zealand Red Cross’ registrar, according to the report.
His father Anthony, 51, mother Kristine, whose age is unknown, and sister Winona, 17, remain unaccounted for.
“We don’t know anything at all,” Anthony’s brother Rodney told the outlet. “But I’m hoping that somebody knows anything, has seen my brother, knows my brother or has seen his wife or their kids.”
Other relatives have arrived from Australia to be with Jesse as he recovers, according to the report.
Six people are confirmed dead as a result of the eruption — and authorities say eight more, including at least one American, are missing and presumed dead.
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