In 2019 White Island's volcano erupted. Source: Michael Schade via AP

White Island Volcano: How Three Brothers Are On Trial For 22 Deaths

A sixteen-week trial is underway in New Zealand over the White Island volcano eruption that killed 22 people, including 17 Australians in 2019.

Worksafe NZ has brought the case against the island’s owners, brothers Andrew, James and Peter Buttle, their company, and two tour operators, alleging that they failed to adequately protect tourists and staff. All have pled not guilty to the charges.

If found guilty, each of the companies faces a maximum fine of $1.4 million, while the brothers charged face a maximum fine of $280,000.

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On today’s Briefing, ABC’s Emily Clark chats to Tom Tilley about what has unfolded in the courtroom so far.

“Accountability is very important and they want to know why they were allowed on the island that day and how this can happen, especially in a country such as New Zealand, they probably thought that they were safe,”

ABC’s Emily Clark

Worksafe NZ’s lawyer Kristy McDonald told the court that by 2019, the Buttle’s were making a yearly profit of $1 million off the island with “minimal overheads.” But despite this, their company WML failed to carry out the appropriate measures to ensure any tours on the island were done safely and any risks were known and managed appropriately.

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