White Island Eruption

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific White Island Eruption

1. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1119 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

I will think twice before complaining about anything ruining my holiday again:

White Island Volcanic Eruption

Very sad news.

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2097 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

I've been watching the news closely. Less than a year since we were last there.

Looking like 13 dead.

3. Posted by Dymphna (Respected Member 223 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

And now there has also been a 5.3 earthquake

4. Posted by Traveller002 (Budding Member 38 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

It is indeed very sad. But I'm also very concern by the safety threshold that the tour company has adopted. From what I am understanding from the news, there don't seem to be any official jurisdiction over that area and is pretty much left up to the tour company to decide the fitness to travel there. If that is true over the jurisdiction, it is my first hearing anyway.

I think this is something that travelers should take note and not take for granted.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2097 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

I've twice been on tours run by White Island, the main operator there. There was a safety briefing, everyone had a hard hat and gas mask. All very professional, and I don't know what else they could do.

The tours fall under NZ rules on health and safety, to answer your point about jurisdiction. No different to anywhere else.

There's an inherent risk to visiting an active volcano. Hot material could rain down on you, and the air could be full of hot ash, in an eruption. This is low probability and notoriously hard to predict.

I fear there will be a political wish to be seen to do something and visits will be banned. :(

For me visiting there has been a striking experience, and I hope others still get the chance in future.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Dec-2019, 07:02 GMT by AndyF ]

6. Posted by Traveller002 (Budding Member 38 posts) 42w Star this if you like it!

Exactly. I believe there will be some backlash given the casualties.

Just to quote from a news report:

..any visit to an active volcano, or volcanic field bears a certain amount of risk, and usually it is managed by governmental bodies generally, and the tourism industry in particular.

The management, or lack thereof, varies by country and jurisdiction. Organisations such as GeoNet provide real time updates on volcanic activities and issue warnings of potential hazards. In the case of White Island, it is up to the operators to decide whether or not to run tours to the island on any given day.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/new-zealand-white-island-volcano-erupt-kill-tour-cruise-risk-12171680

The onus is still on us travelers to decide if we would like to take the risks to such areas. As much respect to the victims, I hope that tours like this can still continue, it would be a pity to stop exploration to such educational areas.

7. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1551 posts) 41w 1 Star this if you like it!

I have been reading about this in South America. A year ago we trekked up Erta Ale in Ethiopia. I'm fairly sure we were given a safety non-liability form to sign and we happily signed it without really reading it or thinking of any real risk. If everyone else was doing it and the travel company thought it was reasonably safe (even one in Ethiopia) we were more than enthusiastic to be there. If it's all sanitized, super-safe and risk-free, it sort of spoils the experience. The tour company are trying to give tourists a bit of excitement by exploring an active volcano and loads of people are prepared to take the risk, whatever that risk is.

There was another one a couple of days ago - a school party from Christchurch on an adventure month in Costa Rica were all robbed at gunpoint by locals, four days into their trip. The tour company had had an unblemished 23 year record, until Wednesday.

I really feel for the families of those injured or killed on Wkakaari but personally, I'm still prepared to take a few risks otherwise I'd stay at home and not cross the road.

8. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1332 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Borisborough

I really feel for the families of those injured or killed on Wkakaari but personally, I'm still prepared to take a few risks otherwise I'd stay at home and not cross the road.

I agree. I'm not hugely adventurous perhaps, but we do go to places that many consider dangerous (sometimes wrongly). If anyone asks me if I'm scared to go somewhere I point out that I live in London and it's probably more risky to go into town, given the terrorist attacks here over the last few years, than to travel to most of the places we go to. Had I been on any sort of tour near White Island and the option to get close to the crater were on offer, I would have taken it I am sure.

9. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1551 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting ToonSarah

I agree. I'm not hugely adventurous perhaps, ... Had I been on any sort of tour near White Island and the option to get close to the crater were on offer, I would have taken it I am sure.

Crikey, DPRK is pretty adventurous!

Yep, I would have gone too if I were in Tauranga over the summer.

As it is, we have Haiti to come before New Year!

10. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1332 posts) 41w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Borisborough

Crikey, DPRK is pretty adventurous!

Yep, I would have gone too if I were in Tauranga over the summer.

As it is, we have Haiti to come before New Year!

I guess DPRK is an adventurous choice, but you are so looked-after there that it doesn't feel adventurous while there! I meant more in terms of adventure sports, physical challenges etc. perhaps - I don't climb mountains, abseil, and so on ;)

And wow to Haiti - it's on our list but we haven't made it yet. I'll look forward to hearing about that.