Ten companies and three people are facing charges of breaching their safety duties due to the eruption of the White Island volcano in New Zealand that killed 22 people a year ago, according to what was announced Monday by the agency “WorkSafe“, which supervises the observance of safety standards at work.
The agency analyzed the reasons for the presence of 47 people, the majority of them Australian tourists, on the volcanic island on December 9, 2019, when the volcano erupted.
The alert level about the volcano’s activity was raised a few weeks ago, and the director of “Worksafe” Phil Parks confirmed that an investigation concluded that the accusations were justified.
“This extremely tragic event was not anticipated, but that does not mean that it was not possible to hedge it,” Parks told reporters. He added, “The victims, including employees and visitors, all wanted to go to the island knowing that the relevant agencies did what was necessary to preserve their health and safety.”
The court examines the case on December 15th. However, the director of “Worksafe” refused to reveal the names of the persons or companies who were involved in the accusation.
Parks said that the prosecution companies face the possibility of fines of up to 1.5 million New Zealand dollars (1.05 million US dollars) and about 210 thousand US dollars for all the accused persons. He emphasized that this investigation is the largest and most complex in the history of the agency.