White Island Whakaari Volcano Erupts Fearless Hero Saves Passengers

White Island Whakaari Volcano Erupts Fearless Hero Saves Passengers
White Island Whakaari Volcano Erupts Fearless Hero Saves Passengers
Hayden Marshall-Inman
Hayden Marshall-Inman

White Island Whakaari Volcano Erupts Fearless Hero Saves Passengers – On Monday, December 9, 2019, at 2:11 in the afternoon, (see video below), the most heart-wrenching, massive cruise ship mass casualty death case of 2019 took place when the Whakaari Volcano on White Island in New Zealand exploded. There were 47 people on the island when the eruption took place nearly all were passengers from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Ovation of the Seas.

Seventeen people were killed and thirty suffered injuries which were mostly severe burns covering 60-80 per cent of the body, many of whom remain critical.

Looking for some kind of goodness arising from this horrific event, I’ve added those sixteen confirmed deaths to our Cruise Ship Death database.  While every case from this event has brought tears to my eyes, hour after hour for several days,  one case of a man who put his own safety above others, rises to the level of HERO. He was not just any hero, he was a career hero, having saved many people, numerous times.

Hayden Marshall-Inman from Queanbeyan, New South Wales, worked as a New Zealand White Island Tours Limited captain and guide. Friends say the gentle,  6’3″ tall giant,  spent more than a decade of his summers as a YMCA camp employee in New Zealand, based at the YMCA Camp of Maine as one of the dozens of foreign counsellors recruited each year. Camp CEO Jeff Gleason said Marshall-Inman was on staff there each season the camp was open from 2004 to 2015, often serving as waterfront director.

Commercial pilot Tom Storey says that he saw Hayden as he worked to evacuate victims from the volcano,  Storey said, he could see his footsteps were going back to help on White Island. When he found him, it was too late,  saying, “But sadly,  his friend was ‘beyond help’. I just pulled him out from where he was and made him as comfortable as I could just so he’s there as we go back to get him.”. Storey then carried on saving other tourists who were struggling to breathe due to the thick dust and ash.

Heroic History Will Never Be Forgotten

January 18, 2016, Marshall-Inman saved a man and his two sons after the tour boat PeeJay V caught fire, with seven crew and 53 passengers aboard. PeeJay V  was approaching the Whakatāne Harbour after an all day-excursion to White Island when a fire broke out in the engine room.

Hayden brother, Mark Inman’s social media post was flooded with tributes, well-wishes and memories of Marshall-Inman, who has been celebrated as “a top man who left an impact on the world.” Mark Inman said his brother was ‘the biggest guy with the biggest heart’.

Mark Inman also heard tales of his brother saving a man who knocked his head and fell in the water during a whale-watching trip. Hayden jumped into the water and saved the passenger.

About White Island Tours Limited

White Island Tours is located at 15 The Strand, Whakatane, New Zealand Their Facebook page states the company was founded in 1990. Their products listed include: White Island Volcano Tours, Moutohora: Island Sanctuary
White Island Rendezvous – Motel accommodation, White Island Cafe, and the White Island Gift Shop.

The company description states,  “White Island Tours offers the amazing experience of walking inside the crater of an active volcano! Roaring steam vents, bubbling pools of mud, glittering chimneys of sulphur and a steaming lake of acid are just a few of the incredible volcanic and geothermal features of the island. Tours depart daily from Whakatane in the beautiful Bay of Plenty. A connecting shuttle bus service operates from Rotorua.”

The Ngāti Awa tribe paid $9 million to buy White Island Tours in 2017 in a bid to expand its asset base, and develop employment for Iwi members. Ngāti Awa is a Māori iwi centred in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand. It is made of 22 hapu (clan), with 15,258 people claiming affiliation to the iwi (nation) in 2006. The Ngāti Awa people are primarily located in towns on the Rangitaiki Plain, including Whakatane, Kawerau, Edgecumbe, Te Teko and Matata.

A note on White Island Tours Limited website, states “Our focus and commitment is on supporting those who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the tragedy at Whakaari/White Island on Monday 9 December. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time. All tours to Whakaari / White Island have been cancelled. Tours to Moutohorā / Whale Island have also been suspended until further notice.”

Whakaari Recent Volcano History

The volcano’s crater lake has been slowly rising since August, with a weak geyser-type activity observed at the edge of the lake. On November 18, 2019, the threat level was raised to two, due to an increase in the amount of SO2 gas coming from the island. “The SO2 gas originates from magma (molten rocks) at depth and the longer-term data from the past few months suggests a possible increase in gas passing through the volcano from depth,” Geonet said.

The level-two warning signifies “moderate to heightened volcanic unrest” according to Geonet.  The highest level on the scale is five, which is only given during a major volcanic eruption. “In the past few weeks, the level of volcanic tremor has also increased from weak to moderate strength,” Geonet said.

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Other Recent Mass Casualty Cruise Events

Video: What caused the White Island volcano to explode the way it did? | ABC News