A verdict has been passed in the famous case of the death of 22 people on the White Island off the coast of New Zealand. The court imposed a fine of nearly one million dollars on the organizer of tours to an active volcano.
The White Island, located in the Bay of Plenty north of New Zealand, has been one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions for years. The active volcano has been erupting almost constantly since 2011, which attracts new crowds of tourists and also allows companies that organize trips there to earn a lot of money. However, the risk is greater than some might think.
Tragic accident on Biała Island
Since White Island, called Whakaari in the Maori language, is an active volcano, trips to it may not seem like a wise idea. In recent years, not only in New Zealand but also in Iceland, it has been seen that many tourists from all over the world are looking for this type of attractions. The phenomenon is so popular that it has already been called “volcano tourism”. Companies that can provide such experiences earn very well.
However, trips to such risky places can have their consequences. The public found this out on December 9, 2019, when 47 tourists were in the crater of the Whakaari volcano, despite the threat level being raised from 1 to 2 on a five-point scale. The sudden eruption of the volcano resulted in the death of 22 people that day. Two bodies have not been found to this day, and 17 people died on the spot. Three people fought for their lives in hospital for weeks, but due to extensive burns they could not be saved.
Tour organizer sentenced
The services in New Zealand accused the company that organized the trip on the fateful day of “failing to minimize the risks” associated with the trip. A trial has started in the case and has just ended. Whakaari Management, a company that licenses trips to the White Island, was fined $928,000. dollars for – as the judge ruling in the case said – “overwhelming errors”.
There were an additional 12 people accused in the trial. Six were found guilty and the remaining six were acquitted.