An Atlanta woman has died following the deadly volcanic eruption on White Island, New Zealand.
Nearly two weeks after the terrifying ordeal, Mayuri “Mary” Singh died at a New Zealand hospital on Sunday morning, family friend Roger Da Silva confirmed to WXIA.
Da Silva said Mary had been receiving treatment and skin grafts for her burns, which covered 70 percent of her body, but that she suffered complications with the procedures.
“It’s tough,” he told the outlet. “Today, I got the bad news that she passed away this morning.”
Da Silva explained that Mary’s husband Pratap “Paul” Singh is currently in the hospital, recovering from surgeries and skin-graf treatments to help the burns that cover 40 percent of his body.
Despite the terrible circumstances, Da Silva said he was confident Paul, a local businessman, will recover — though he will always be heartbroken over the loss of his wife.
“Forty percent of your body is a lot but Paul has a strong heart. He’s gonna make it through this,” he said. “He donated to so many charities… he came to this country with a nickel and dime.”
“I just hope that he comes out and he’s okay — he’s never gonna be okay, I know he’s never gonna be okay,” he continued, adding that Mary and Paul were “beautiful, incredible people.”
One day after Mary’s death, the New Zealand Police announced that the official death toll from the White Island eruption had risen to 17 people. Of those victims, police said 16 died in New Zealand, while one died in Australia.
Bay of Plenty District commander, superintendent Andy McGregor said that the coastguard and police had conducted an “extensive aerial search for further victims” over the weekend but that “no further items of significance were located” on the island.
“Today, Police will review the search area to date and make a decision on further search activity,” McGregor wrote in a press release.
The news comes as search crews were looking for the bodies of two missing victims — 17-year-old Australian Winona Langford and 40-year-old New Zealander Hayden Marshall-Inman.
New Zealand Police said experts believe their bodies may have been washed out to sea following a significant storm on the island the night of the volcano’s eruption.
“There is no guarantee their bodies will be located and Police recognize the immense pain this must cause their families,” they wrote. “It’s important to be clear — we haven’t given up. Police resources including the Eagle helicopter and Deodar vessel will remain in Whakatane for several days. The effort will continue beyond that at the local level.”
The fatal blast occurred on Monday, Dec. 9, just after 2 p.m. while 47 travelers — who were from the United States, Australia, China, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — were on the island, police said.
Thirty-eight of the tourists were traveling on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, the New Zealand Herald reported.
As victims continue to receive treatment in intensive care and burn units across New Zealand, authorities are investigating whether it was safe to have tourism at the active volcano, but said it is was too early to tell whether there will be a criminal investigation surrounding safety rules on the island, the Herald reported.