She Was Celebrating a Birthday With Family. Then, an Eruption

Australian student Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, is first victim IDed after volcano blast in New Zealand
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2019 9:00 AM CST
Updated Dec 14, 2019 9:30 AM CST
'Beautiful Soul' Is First NZ Volcano Victim IDed
Krystal Eve Browitt.   (YouTube/Sky News Australia)

The first official victim ID from police has been announced after Monday's volcano eruption on New Zealand's White Island. Per the BBC, Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, was an Australian from Melbourne. Sky News Australia reports Browitt was on the island with her family on one leg of a 12-night cruise to celebrate her birthday. Her dad and sister were with her on the island when the volcano erupted and are now in the hospital themselves with serious injuries. A GoFundMe launched by a family friend notes that Browitt's mother stayed behind on the ship while the others visited White Island, the Age reports.

Browitt's Facebook page notes she was studying veterinary nursing while working at Woolworths supermarket, per Newsweek. Browitt was a "much-loved member of [her high school] community" and was described by teachers as "a beautiful soul," the principal of her former high school tells the Age. Meanwhile, the official death toll has risen to 15, after police confirmed the death of another victim at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton. The BBC notes about 20 people remain in ICU units with severe burns. Police divers have picked up their search again in the waters around White Island to recover any other bodies. (On Friday, a "risky mission" to the island took place to recover bodies.)

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