Another Atlantan has died from injuries caused by a volcano eruption in New Zealand more than a month ago, bringing the total number killed to 21.
Channel 2 Action News has confirmed that Pratap “Paul” Singh died Tuesday at an Auckland, New Zealand, hospital. Singh’s wife, Mayuari “Mary” Singh, succumbed to injuries on Dec. 22 in the immediate aftermath of the eruption.
Pratap Singh died at the same hospital where his wife passed away. He had suffered burns on more than 40% of his body.
The Associated Press initially reported another victim died Tuesday night.
There were 47 people visiting the tourist destination of White Island when the volcano erupted Dec. 9, initially killing 13 people.
Several other people died in hospitals in New Zealand and Australia in the weeks following the eruption, which saw scores hospitalized with severe burns.
Experts say super-heated water that burst from beneath the crater’s surface caused the injuries.
Some victims saw burns cover large portions of their bodies or damage their lungs.
Many of those killed and injured were Australian tourists who had been traveling aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas.
New Zealand authorities are investigating the circumstances around the disaster.
Many have questioned why tourists were allowed on the island after its alert level was raised by authorities three weeks before the eruption.
Specialist medical teams have been arriving in New Zealand from Australia, Britain and the United States. Skin banks were also sending tissue to New Zealand hospitals to use for grafts.
Ash and other fallout from the eruption has made the sea near the island toxic, and divers have to be washed clean after every completed dive.
Scientists have warned that White Island, which is the exposed tip of a mostly undersea volcano, is highly volatile, and has been venting steam and mud regularly.
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