Key Points:

  • Eight people confirmed dead, autopsies and formal identification continues today
  • Nine missing or presumed dead, with eight thought to be on island
  • 30 in hospital - 8 in Christchurch, 7 in Middlemore Hospital, 6 in Waikato, 4 in Hutt Valley, 2 in Auckland City, 2 in Tauranga Base Hospital and 1 in Wellington
  • One injured Australian due to fly from Wellington to an Australian hospital overnight
  • More Australian patients expected to be flown to hospitals across Tasman in coming days
  • 47 people were on or near the island when the volcano erupted - 24 Australians, nine from the US, five Kiwis, four Germans, two Chinese, two from UK and one from Malaysia

Three more Australians have been confirmed dead following the devastating White Island volcano eruption, bringing the total number of Australians killed in the disaster to seven.

Jason Griffiths, 33, and couple Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, all from Coffs Harbour, were confirmed dead in a joint statement issued by their friends and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Wednesday night, reports news.com.au.

The trio had been holidaying with a group of friends on the Royal Carribean Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the volcano erupted.

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"On the 4th of December 2019, we embarked upon a cruise as a group of nine close friends who were looking forward to a wonderful holiday together," the statement said.

"We enjoyed the first five days of our trip and have many memories that will stay with us forever.

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"On the 9th of December 2019, we were devastated by the news that three of our friends were visiting White Island on a shore excursion during the time of the eruption.

"Some time later, we discovered that two of our friends, Richard Elzer and Karla Mathews, were still on the island. We have been advised that there are no signs of life on the island.

"We then located our third friend, Jason Griffiths, in a hospital in the early hours of the next morning.

"From that moment until the moment of his passing, Jason was surrounded by friends and family members.

"We are incredibly saddened to have lost three of our closest friends."

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Griffiths had reportedly suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body.