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White Island survivor, 64, who suffered serious burns in volcano explosion dies in hospital 

A White Island survivor who suffered serious burns in the volcanic explosion has become the 22nd person to die from the tragedy. 

Horst Westenfelder, 64, from Germany, died in an overseas hospital due to medical complications while receiving treatment for injuries he suffered when the New Zealand volcano erupted on 9 December last year.  

He died on July 2 but his death has only now been confirmed as resulting from the blast, New Zealand Police said in a statement on Thursday. 

Horst Westenfelder, 64, has been declared the 22 fatality of the White Island volcano tragedy Pictured:  The eruption on December 9, last year

His wife Angelika Westenfelder said he battled for his life for months and was an ‘irreplaceable’ loss to those who loved him. 

‘It is unbelievable, how many months my joyful, sensible and strong husband “Horsti”, was fighting for his life and I am thankful to everyone who was thinking of us and helping us during that very hard time,’ she said in a statement on behalf of the family.

‘He lost this battle and started his last journey in July.’

‘It is an irreplaceable loss for our family, his friends and of course for myself. In loving memory of a full and exciting life. 

‘I will always miss you.’

New Zealand Police said: ‘Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr Westenfelder who have requested privacy as they are still coming to terms with the death of their much-loved husband, father and grandfather.’

Forty-seven people were on the island, off the coast of Whakatane, when its volcano erupted on December 9, 2019, 

Only 26 made it out alive, many with lifelong disfiguring and painful scarring.

New Zealand Defence Force, recovery operation at Whakaari/White Island on December 13, 2019 in Whakatane, New Zealand

New Zealand Defence Force, recovery operation at Whakaari/White Island on December 13, 2019 in Whakatane, New Zealand

The disaster claimed the lives of 17 Australians who were visiting the island as part of a day excursion from a cruise ship. 

Tourists became trapped on the island, many unable to outrun the plumes of acidic gas and ash that surrounded them. 

Some saw their entire families wiped out, others suffered excruciating burns to nearly all of their bodies and many have undergone dozens of surgeries or been placed into long comas.

Among the list of victims was Melbourne father Paul Browitt and his 21-year-old daughter Krystal.

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, and his wife Barbara, 49, died in the eruption

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, and his wife Barbara, 49, died in the eruption

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday 

His 23-year-old daughter Stephanie received third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost a number of her fingers.

She was one of the few survivors who was airlifted off the island by a rescue helicopter.

Brisbane mother Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, were the first Australians named to have died in the tragedy after travelling to the island as part of their cruise holiday. 

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, an Australian, his wife Barbara Hollander, 49, and their two sons Berend, 16, and Matthew, 13, were on the volcano at the time of the blast. 

Berend and Matthew, who attended Sydney’s  Knox Grammar, both died in hospital after suffering serious injuries. 

Their parents bodies were later recovered from the island.  

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family. Her father Paul later died from his injuries while her sister Stephanie survived with horrific burns

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family. Her father Paul later died from his injuries while her sister Stephanie survived with horrific burns

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday 

Lisa Dallow's 15-year-old daughter Zoe (pictured) has been confirmed dead

Gavin Dallow, from Adelaide, has been confirmed dead

The Hosking/Dallow family had been on a tour at the time of the eruption. Mum Lisa Dallow is among the injured in hospital. Her husband Gavin (right) 53, and 15-year-old daughter Zoe, from Adelaide, (left) were confirmed dead

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

Mrs Hollander was American, where the boys were born, but all three were Australian permanent residents. 

Gavin Dallow, 53, had been holidaying with his wife Lisa Dallow, 48, and her daughter Zoe Hosking, 15, when they were caught in the disaster. 

Mr Gallow and his stepdaughter Zoe died while Ms Dallow was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries. She survived and learnt of her loved ones’ deaths after waking from a coma.

Coff Harbour couple Karla Matthews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, were airlifted off the island during a body recovery mission days after the eruption. 

Their friend Jason Griffith, 33, died after being taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Matthew Hollander

Berend Hollander

Matthew (left, year eight) and Berend (right, year 10) Hollander were confirmed dead on Thursday morning

Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived

Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived 

Chris Cozad (pictured) died on December 14 after he had been medically transferred to Concord Hospital in Sydney from New Zealand

Chris Cozad (pictured) died on December 14 after he had been medically transferred to Concord Hospital in Sydney from New Zealand

Lisa Dallow, 49, from Adelaide, (pictured with her husband) was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries, where she learnt of her daughter and husband's death upon waking from a coma

Lisa Dallow, 49, from Adelaide, (pictured with her husband) was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries, where she learnt of her daughter and husband’s death upon waking from a coma

Anthony Langford, 51, and his wife Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney, were on the cruise to celebrate his birthday along with their son Jesse, 19, and daughter Winona, 17.

Mr Langford and Mrs Langford were later confirmed dead, while their son survived with burns to 90 per cent of his body. Winona’s body was never recovered, and is either entombed on the island or lost at sea. 

Chris Cozad, 43, from Sydney, succumbed to his injuries days later in hospital on December 14. 

Two New Zealand tour guides, Tipene Maangi, 24, and Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, both perished. Like Winona Langford, Mr Marshall-Inman’s body has never been recovered.

Americans Pratap ‘Paul’ Singh and his wife Mayuri both later died in hospital from their injuries.

Stephanie Browitt (right, pictured with her sister Kristal, survived

She suffered third degree burns to 70 per cent of her and since receiving several skin grafts she has been wearing a a full face mask to protect her mottled skin

Stephanie (pictured ) received third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost a number of her fingers. She was one of the few survivors who was airlifted off the island by a rescue helicopter


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