A Federal Court has allowed an Australian mother and daughter to sue a cruise ship company over the Whakaari/White Island volcano tragedy that killed two of their close family members.
Marie Browitt and daughter Stephanie are suing Royal Caribbean Cruises in Florida after a court ruling made by Judge Angus Stewart, 9News reports.
A total of 22 people lost their lives after the once-popular tourist attraction erupted off the Bay of Plenty coastline erupted on December 9, 2019.
Among them were Marie's husband, Paul, and their daughter Krystal. Stephanie survived but was among several who were severely injured.
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9News reports Judge Stewart wrote in a ruling: "Paul, Stephanie and Krystal suffered horrific injuries from the molten ash and rock that spewed from the erupting volcano."
"Marie has suffered unbearable loss and psychological injury."
Marie had chosen not to visit the island and was still on board the ship during the eruption.
The cruise line tried to resist the Florida court case, instead arguing the Browitts could only sue for damages in a New South Wales court, as the state where they booked their trip, 9News reports.
But the Federal Court rejected that argument, allowing the Browitts to sue in Florida.