New Zealand paramedic describes ‘shocking’ scene after volcano eruption
The paramedic told reporters they found no survivors on the island; American tourists are among the missing
By EMS1 Staff
NEW ZEALAND — A New Zealand paramedic who assisted in rescue efforts after a volcano erupted Sunday said the response was a “shocking experience.”
Paramedic Russell Clark told a New Zealand television station that “everything was just blanketed in ash” as he flew with an Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew to Whakatane on the nation’s North Island, according to Reuters.
“We were getting status updates, so we knew there were high-acuity patients, very, very critical patients,” Clark said.
Five people died after the eruption, and 30 were evacuated from the island, many of whom sustained burn injuries. Eight people remain missing and are assumed dead, including tourists from the United States, Australia, Britain, China and Malaysia.
Clark said he saw a damaged helicopter upon arriving at the scene.
“We didn’t find any survivors on the island,” he said. “It would've been quite traumatic for them.”