The brother of a Brisbane woman killed alongside her daughter when a volcano erupted on New Zealand’s White Island says they’ll be remembered for how they lived, not how they died.
The brother of a Brisbane woman killed alongside her daughter when a volcano erupted on New Zealand's White Island says they'll be remembered for how they lived, not how they died.
On the afternoon of December 9, 2019, the volcano erupted.
They were among 47 people on the island at the time, helpless against the violent explosion of rock and ash.
In Australia, their family was called and told they were missing.
"I couldn't sleep that night because it just… is just… you just knew that something isn't right, something is wrong here," Julie's brother Michael Eborn told 9News.
"Basically just hoping that the information in it is wrong but sadly it wasn't."
Julie and Jessica were the first confirmed Australian victims.
A total of 21 people died as a result of the disaster including two people, ruled dead by a coroner, whose bodies have never been found .
The adventurous and outgoing pair had booked their trip to White Island two years earlier, but it was cancelled.
So when they finally got the chance to go, Mr Eborn said they were "so happy that they were finally getting there".
They had planned to race each other to the top of the volcano to see who could throw the biggest stone inside.
It is hoped investigations into the disaster will explore whether officials had correctly identified the eruption warning level in the days and weeks prior.
"Hindsight says (the trek) should have been cancelled," Mr Eborn said.
"The investigations in New Zealand will probably find out what was right and what was wrong."
But he says he takes comfort in the belief that the pair who were inseparable in life are also together in death, and will remember them for "not the sad thing that has happened just the good, the good things that they did in life".
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/nz-white-island-volcano-disaster-brisbane-man-remembers-sister-and-niece-queensland-news/39342317-d3e0-4f70-9382-ead8ce416179