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Thirteen parties to appear in court tomorrow over deaths in Whakaari/White Island eruption

Thirteen parties are appearing in court for the first time as a result of the deadly Whakaari/White Island eruption.

Source: 1 NEWS

Tomorrow, 10 organisations, and three individuals, will appear in the Auckland District Court to face charges laid by WorkSafe under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The volcano erupted in December 2019, resulting in the deaths of 22 of the 47 visitors and guides who were on the island. The rest faced serious injuries and trauma.

WorkSafe chief executive Phil Parkes said those charged did not meet their obligations when taking tourists to the island.

White Island Tours Limited, Volcanic Air Safaris Limited, Kahu (NZ) Limited, GNS and the National Emergency Management Agency are among the 13 defendants.

WorkSafe files charges against 13 parties in wake of Whakaari/White Island tragedy

Under WorkSafe’s charges, the organisations each face a maximum fine of $1.5million, while the three individuals a maximum fine of $300,000 each.

The court case is going ahead despite Auckland's Covid-19 Alert Level 3, meaning people from outside the region will not be able to appear in person, having to video conference in for their appearance, while those permitted in court are required to social distance and wear masks.

The defendants were set to first appear in December 2020, but that was adjourned in order to review the evidence and seek legal advice.