Royal Caribbean has confirmed the firm has passengers in five different hospitals in New Zealand following the White Island volcanic eruption.
Stuart Leven, vice-president EMEA of parent company RCL Cruises, said the line’s thoughts are with those caught up in the tragedy.
At least eight people are thought to be on the island following the eruption on Monday morning. All are presumed dead.
Police said they were considering a “high-speed recovery” of the bodies despite the risk of a further eruption.
Eight others have already been confirmed dead, and at least 20 are in intensive care after suffering severe burns when the volcano erupted as 47 tourists visited White Island.
Giving an update ahead of Wednesday morning’s latest Travel Weekly Business Breakfast to launch the annual Insight Report, Leven described the situation on the ground as “developing”.
It was reported that Royal Caribbean had 38 people on the island when the eruption happened.
A total of 27 people, including two Britons, were taken to hospital with burns to a third of their bodies.
Leven said Ovation of the Seas had left port in Tauranga but Royal Caribbean has people on the ground from Australia, New Zealand and Miami to support the injured and deal with the aftermath.
“Obviously our thoughts go out to those caught up in it. We are trying to help family and friends make their way to New Zealand. We will be on the ground to support them in any way we can,” he said,
Leven also thanked the New Zealand authorities and prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who was on the scene within eight hours, for their swift action.
And he also thanked UK travel sector colleagues.
“The number of notes of support and offers of help has been heart warming. We have seen our industry pulling together,” he said.
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