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The two-week search for the bodies of two remaining victims of the White Island volcano eruption has been discontinued. The death toll is now 19 and several people remain in a critical condition.
New Zealand police on Tuesday called off the search for the last two people still missing following the White Island volcanic eruption earlier this month.
"The search for the two missing victims of the Whakaari/White Island eruption has been suspended," police superintendent Andy McGregor said in a statement.
McGregor added that they would renew their search "if new information comes to light" and that "the families of the two missing people have been informed of this decision."
Those that have not been found and are presumed dead are Winona Langford, a 17-year-old Australian tourist, and Hayden Marshall-Inman, a 40-year-old tour guide from New Zealand.
Another victim dies in hospital
The number of deaths from the eruption rose to 19 on Monday as another person died at a hospital in Auckland.
There were 47 people visiting the tourist destination when the volcano erupted, initially killing 13 and leaving dozens more hospitalized with serious burns. Many remain in critical condition.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the tragedy that an investigation into the events of December 9 could take up to a year. Potential jail terms of up to five years could be issued for those found responsible for the loss of life.
jsi/cw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)