On Monday, December 9, 2019, around 2:15 in the afternoon, Berend Hollander, 16, was a passenger aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Ovation of the Seas when the ship called at White Island in New Zealand’s northeastern Bay of Plenty region as the Whakaari Volcano erupted.
Ovation of the Seas was sailing on a 12-night cruise from Sydney, Australia.
Berend Hollander and his brother Matthew, 13, who had been living in Australia, attended Knox Grammar School. Both boys who were originally from Chicago, Illinois were confirmed victims who died from the Whakaari Volcano eruption. The boys had been touring White Island with their parents, Martin Hollander, 48, and Barbara Hollander, 50, when the volcano erupted. The parents are still unaccounted for, the school says.
Berend was involved in various sports and extracurricular activities at the school — with passions for both baseball and the Australian Football League, the school said. He also had an interest in software design.
Matthew played on the school’s basketball, squash and debate teams — and was elected as a mentor representative during the 2018-2019 school year.
Around 50 visitors were on or near the island at the time of the eruption, and most have since been transported to shore, including the five deceased, according to a NZ Herald report. Eight tourists still on the island are also presumed dead, while a further 31 are in hospital, many of whom are not expected to survive their severe burns.
Royal Caribbean’s 4,905-passenger Ovation of the Seas arrived at the nearest port of Tauranga yesterday, and it is understood that most of the missing tourists were visiting White Island on the cruise line’s shore excursion.
Royal Caribbean’s spokesperson in Australia stated, “We can confirm that a number of our guests were touring the island today. We do not have any additional details to share at this time. Ovation of the Seas will remain overnight until we learn more about the situation. We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities. Please keep all those affected in your prayers.”
Other Whakaari Volcano Deaths
Anthony James Langford, 51, North Willoughby, Australia
Barbara Hollander, 50, Sydney, Australia (American)
Gavin Dallow, 53, Adelaide, Australia
Hayden Marshall-Inman – 40, New Zealand White Island Tours Limited guide
Jason Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour, Australia
Jessica Richards, 20, Brisbane, Australia
Julie Richards, 47, Brisbane, Australia
Karla Matthews, 32, Coffs Harbor, Australia
Kristine Langford, 45. North Willoughby, Australia
Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, Melbourne, Australia
Martin Hollander, 48, Sydney, Australia
Matthew Hollander, 13, Sydney, Australia (American)
Richard Elzer, 32, Coffs Harbor, Australia
Tipene Maangi, 24, New Zealand White Island Tours Limited guide
Winona Jane Langford, 17, North Willoughby, Australia
Zoe Hosking, 15, Adelaide, Australia