Jessica Richards Volcano Death New Zealand Ovation of the Seas Passenger – On Monday, December 9, 2019, at 2:11 in the afternoon, (see video below) Jessica Richards, 20, from Brisbane, Australia 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. Jessica Richards and her mother Julie Richards, 47 had been confirmed dead in the New Zealand volcano disaster.
AFL Queensland made a statement on the death, “Jessica, known as ‘Richo’, was a talented footballer who began playing with the Park Ridge Football Club before moving to Yeronga South Brisbane while her mother Julie was a familiar face to everyone at the club, volunteering her time heavily with the women’s team where she was a much-loved figure. At this time, AFL Queensland is working closely with the Yeronga South Brisbane Football Club on the support required to all players, coaches, and staff at the club. We ask the media to respect the privacy and feelings of the Richards family and the Yeronga South Brisbane Football Club during this time.”
Richards and her daughter were both “outdoor adventurist people” who loved sports. “If there was an adventure, then they would be the ones to do it.”
Ovation of the Seas was sailing on a 12-night cruise from Sydney, Australia.
About Whakaari Volcano
Whakaari also is known as just White Island is an active andesite stratovolcano situated 48 km (30 mi) from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty. It is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years.
The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga. The island has been in a nearly continuous stage of releasing volcanic gas at least since it was sighted by James Cook in 1769. Whakaari erupted continually from December 1975 until September 2000, marking the world’s longest historic eruption episode, according to GeoNet, and also in 2012, 2016, and 2019.
GeoNet, which tracks New Zealand’s seismic and volcanic activity, raised its alert level on the island in November after increasing sulfur dioxide gas. Volcanic tremor also increased, and the agency wrote at the time that the island “may be entering a period where the eruptive activity is more likely than normal.”
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)
Berend Hollander, 16, 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
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
Video: Brisbane mum and daughter first Australians confirmed dead in NZ volcano disaster | ABC News