U,S. couple burned in New Zealand volcano eruption sues Royal Caribbean

11 months ago 35
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June 26 (UPI) -- An American couple who survived a deadly volcanic eruption during a honeymoon cruise in New Zealand last year are suing Royal Caribbean Cruises, court documents show.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami last Thursday alleges the cruise line and a tour company, ID Tours of New Zealand Ltd., are responsible for "catastrophic injuries" sustained by Lauren Barham and Matthew Urey during the Dec. 9 eruption of the White Island Volcano.

The newlywed couple were on a shore excursion to White Island when the volcano erupted, killing 21 people, most of whom were tourists.

New Zealand's GeoNet agency had raised White Island's volcanic alert level in November after noting increasing sulfur dioxide gas and heightened volcanic tremor. It advised at the time that the island "may be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than normal."

The couple assert Royal Caribbean and ID Tours are culpable for their extensive burns because they allowed tours on the island even though the volcano had been active "multiple times just a few years before the incident."

They also fault the companies for failure to "routinely monitor volcanic alert levels and/or volcanic activity" or notify passengers of increased activity or the increased risk of eruption.

The decision to proceed with the excursion, they alleged, was made "despite the increased volcanic alert levels, without adequately notifying passengers of the risk entailed."

Royal Caribbean declined to comment on the suit.

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