WHAKAARI TRAGEDY: GUILTY PLEAS

Three helicopter tour companies have pleaded guilty to workplace health and safety offences related to the Whakaari/White Island disaster in New Zealand.

The eruption of the volcanic island in 2019 claimed the lives of 22 people, including 14 Australians. Among the guilty entities are Volcanic Air Safaris Ltd, Kahu NZ Ltd, and Aerius Ltd. The charges were brought by WorkSafe New Zealand, with six out of the 13 entities charged pleading guilty so far.

The guilty pleas acknowledge the lack of safety measures in place during the eruption, which exposed workers and visitors to the risk of serious injury or death. Penalties for the charges range from fines of up to NZ$500,000 to NZ$1.5 million.

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