The heartbroken family of two New Zealand volcano eruption victims has lashed tour operators, saying they would be alive if proper precautions had been taken.
The heartbroken family of two victims of December's White Island eruption has lashed tour operators, saying their loved ones would be alive if proper safety precautions had been taken.
Bhupender 'Vick' Singh, the nephew of married Americans Pratap 'Paul' Singh and Mayuri 'Mary' Singh, travelled to New Zealand in the aftermath of the eruption to care for the pair.
Mary Singh died on December 22, while Paul followed her on Tuesday night this week.
Both were receiving treatment in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital after suffering burns to more than 50 per cent of their bodies.
Vick Singh released a statement last night, declaring his devastation at their deaths, and pointing the finger of blame at operators White Island Tours.
"I visited Paul and Mary every day since December 10 while they were at the Middlemore Hospital. The last 50 days were distressing, slow and agonisingly painful," he said.
"Proper safety equipment would have saved my family.
"I seriously request and encourage volcano tourism in NZ and around the world to charter proper safety equipment including appropriate heat resistant gear/clothing, safety glasses, helmets and face masks.
"Tours should not be operated without comprehensive disclosure of risks associated, and a complete assessment of geothermal and seismic activity."
The deadly blast is currently the subject of two inquiries; a coronial investigation and a probe by Worksafe, New Zealand's workplace investigator.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not ruled out a royal commission into the eruption, which has claimed 21 lives to date.
Among the dead are 14 Australians - with a number of people still receiving care in Australian and New Zealand hospitals.
The Singhs were visiting White Island from Atlanta, Georgia, where they were well known in the city's Indian community.
Vick Singh described his uncle Paul as an "invincible businessman" and his aunt Mary as "a true supermom".
"His unmatched exuberance and unconditional love for everyone around him will forever be missed," he said.
"He was the best father, best guardian, best brother, best uncle, best volunteer and the best friend anyone could wish."
While savage in his criticism of the tour operators, Vick Singh thanked those who had provided care for his family.
"We would like to commend and acknowledge the doctors/consultants, nurses and the administrative staff of Middlemore Hospital for their efforts in providing best medical attention and care possible in New Zealand," he said.
"We offer our sincere condolences and do share the pain and sorrow of the families who have lost their loved ones in this tragic incident."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/new-zealand-volcano-eruption-disaster-tour-operator-slammed-safety-inquiry/e9aa0b6f-1323-43c6-807d-5d1744c5121f