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9011 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2374813 13-Dec-2019 15:01
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networkn:

 

I see they are planning an aerial search to find the remaining 2 bodies unaccounted for, I am curious why they wouldn't use unmanned drones for this, controlled from a boat a relatively safe distance from the island for example? That's mostly curiosity more than criticism.

 

 

 

 

They've had planes etc flying over taking aerial photos, presumably using high spec military gear.  There might be nothing more to see from the air.

 

Just listening to the radio news now, and there's a report that they've found a body in the sea nearby.


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  # 2374829 13-Dec-2019 15:38
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tdgeek:
networkn:

 

tdgeek:

 

I wouldn't say highly unlikely. 50-60% to erupt in 24 hours. They may be there for a few hours? Well, its been 5 already. I'd say its high risk, it can go at any time, or not at all. Its highly unstable right now.

 

 

Well, you know my position on this. They shouldn't be there at all while the Island is in this state.

 

If they come back mostly unharmed, people will use the incorrect logic, that it was worth it, and the right thing to do. I will never agree with that. It's hard. It's cold, but it's the truth.

 



And I agree fully. That the authorities are pressured to go there really tells us what alert 2 means. A few days ago alert 2 was fine as they boarded the tour. Alert 2 is within our safety margin the operator said. Time caught up and 8+ now have to pay for it


Ok was trying to avoid this tread due to the nature of work I do/did but here we go.. I know others have said it before as well.

 

So let's rewind - Alert level 2 is an easy public way of saying a volcano is doing X or Y. It does not give you the other billion strands of data that goes behind it, if the public were to see this they would be confused and terrified and instantly think most areas are unsafe which they are not, but caution is advised.

 

Prior to Monday, the parameters on White Island were XY and the alert level was 2 (Moderate to heightened volcanic unrest.) and that equalled safe. Monday when the eruption occurred it was escalated to level 4 (Moderate volcanic eruption) because it was in an eruption phase, this was lowered to level 3 then 2 where we sit today.

remembering that Level 2 = Moderate to heightened volcanic unrest - which is totally correct! it's not in an eruption phase (level 3-5) nor is it Minor volcanic unrest (level 1).

What has changed is what's going on with the volcano before and after this eruption from what we have been told there is more venting of gasses and ash from the vents and that there is more tremors but one thing that is the same now as it was Monday is the Island is not erupting.

So, of course, the hazard profile is different than Monday, if you still had a Monday event with NO injuries or deaths just the eruption, I would put money on the fact that there would be nothing going to the island tourism wise right now or GNS would not be going to do monitoring right now. It could also be at level 1 and still be off-limits for people. also it could be level 3 and still be ok.

Again I will put money on the fact they these operators never just took the Alert Level as the guideline as a GO or No Go. Until the investigations get underway lets not hung up on the Alert Level of the day..

 

How many on this thread have walked about Rotorua or Taupo and seen the geothermal features that give these cities their attractions they have been known to pop up new geothermal holes (kinda like white island did) in peoples backyards or even in the middle of a park, but yet we still live and work there aye... sometimes the risk is manageable,

-
The Recovery operation will ALWAYS have a higher risk profile than a rescue because you never want to be the person who has to sit in a coroners court and go yip I made that call and it was a bad one sorry we lost the recovery team.

-

eracode:

 

dafman: Even if they don't formally close it, how many will choose to go out there in future now the potential has become reality? If not shut down, there will need to be significant change. A significant exclusion zone around the crater and visitors kept close to easily accessible purpose built permanent shelters?

 

My understanding is that until now the decision to visit or not visit on any given day has been in the hands of the tour operators. If tourists are still going to be able to go there, surely this will have to change - not sure who should have control but it needs to be an independent authority. Even the most responsible operator has a conflict of interest between revenue and customer safety.

 


The tour operators have a number of parameters to tick and a major step is GNS - I would also challenge you on the conflict of interest of safety vs revenue - Alot of operators in the adventure space have to look at this every day, you could say rafting down a 7m waterfall with a risk of drowning is higher on the risk scale than walking on a volcano
-

There will always be people in the world who are risk-averse and those that are not its what makes everyone unique.

The teams responsible for the recoveries today and the rescues on Monday are the same they put their lives at risk to save or recover those there.


 
 
 
 


30 posts

Geek


  # 2374879 13-Dec-2019 16:40
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Thank you Response,
That's very informative,
What most people here fail to understand is 'alert level' is quite different from actual 'safety level'
& in any instance 1 'alert level' factor / safety can't be blanket applied to all New Zealand volcano's.

As each one is unique and the activities on each mountain are different, therefore the risk factors are different. (Even the nature of the volcano's themselves are different & they respond different due to differ especially in geological makeup)

Let's hope there is not a knee-jerk response to perminately close the island. - I have been on the island a number of times in the past, & look forward to taking my family there again in the future.
(Just as I will Rotorua hot pools & Geysers & lakes - in spite of there have been fatal accident there also, from time to time)
We live IN nature & it's one of the things we need to accept we cannot totally control (or regulate)

Current society seem obsessed with regulation & control...

18726 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2374900 13-Dec-2019 17:24
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concordnz: Thank you Response,
That's very informative,
What most people here fail to understand is 'alert level' is quite different from actual 'safety level'
& in any instance 1 'alert level' factor / safety can't be blanket applied to all New Zealand volcano's.

As each one is unique and the activities on each mountain are different, therefore the risk factors are different. (Even the nature of the volcano's themselves are different & they respond different due to differ especially in geological makeup)

Let's hope there is not a knee-jerk response to perminately close the island. - I have been on the island a number of times in the past, & look forward to taking my family there again in the future.
(Just as I will Rotorua hot pools & Geysers & lakes - in spite of there have been fatal accident there also, from time to time)
We live IN nature & it's one of the things we need to accept we cannot totally control (or regulate)

Current society seem obsessed with regulation & control...

 

Going by 30 years of zero control and regulation over an open crater, I'd say not. Alert Level vs Safety Level. I agree, but talk to the tour operators who decided that alert 2, extra activity and a heightened likelihood of an eruption, is quite ok.

 

I hope they dont close it, but alert 2 has to mean no go. Its a risk, you are meters from the crater, so any unusual behaviour over that alert 1 risk has to be no go.  


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  # 2374904 13-Dec-2019 17:35
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ResponseMediaNZ:

 

There will always be people in the world who are risk-averse and those that are not its what makes everyone unique.

The teams responsible for the recoveries today and the rescues on Monday are the same they put their lives at risk to save or recover those there.

 

 

Cheers Justy, great detail as always. 

 

The tour company actually stated, at alert 2 it's within their safety parameters so tours as normal. That doesn't seem to indicate they looked at other data, and there has been a lot of data in the previous 3 weeks as has been reported. 

 

I agree, if no one was there, 30 second news article.

 

Risk wise with drowning. There are many at risk volcano's, but you are IN the volcano, IN the crater, 3 metres from the crater lake. To me thats way different. I feel that alert 1 fits acceptable risk, when its unstable thats a huge risk. DoC banned people from Ruapehu on alert 2, but only the summit. White Island is the summit. 

 

Id go there tomorrow on Alert 1, never on Alert 2


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2374905 13-Dec-2019 17:35
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tdgeek:

 

concordnz: .

 

Going by 30 years of zero control and regulation over an open crater, I'd say not. Alert Level vs Safety Level. I agree, but talk to the tour operators who decided that alert 2, extra activity and a heightened likelihood of an eruption, is quite ok.

 

I hope they dont close it, but alert 2 has to mean no go. Its a risk, you are meters from the crater, so any unusual behaviour over that alert 1 risk has to be no go.  

 

 

Sorry TD but there are regulation and standards - https://www.adventuremark.co.nz is what White Island Tours is accredited under and have held it for many years there is also https://www.qualworx.org

 

Alert Level is just one factor though TD

 


I totally disagree that a blanket Level 2 = No Go! that would be some years we shut the Tongariro Crossing and Mt Ruapehu for tramping and winter activities on the mountain.


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2374914 13-Dec-2019 17:46
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tdgeek:

 

Cheers Justy, great detail as always. 

 

The tour company actually stated, at alert 2 it's within their safety parameters so tours as normal. That doesn't seem to indicate they looked at other data, and there has been a lot of data in the previous 3 weeks as has been reported. 

 

I agree, if no one was there, 30 second news article.

 

Risk wise with drowning. There are many at risk volcano's, but you are IN the volcano, IN the crater, 3 metres from the crater lake. To me thats way different. I feel that alert 1 fits acceptable risk, when its unstable thats a huge risk. DoC banned people from Ruapehu on alert 2, but only the summit. White Island is the summit. 

 

Id go there tomorrow on Alert 1, never on Alert 2

 



No Worries :) Always happy to add input when needed haha - I have been in the industry many many years and have dealt with the Volconoligists so understand it way differently having been in the shoes of the ones you see in the media.

 

The hard thing with "Safety Parameters" is until a report comes out on what they look at I'm just taking an educated guess knowing the operators, knowing GNS and others and putting it together. I could well be off the mark, but don't think I will be.

I'm not disagreeing that companies don't send teams into areas at certain levels, thats their risk matrix and we respect that just sometimes these can be more risk-averse to cover their own politics and some companies will send people.

I also totally respect anyone that doesn't feel comfortable doing something as its a risk to them vs someone else thinking its a walk in the park.

The biggest issue is we live in and on one of the biggest disaster zones in the world, thats why people come for our landscape and to play in our backyards. We just need to start as a country learning about these risks and how we live with them better :)


 
 
 
 


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  # 2374919 13-Dec-2019 17:48
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ResponseMediaNZ:

 

tdgeek:

 

concordnz: .

 

Going by 30 years of zero control and regulation over an open crater, I'd say not. Alert Level vs Safety Level. I agree, but talk to the tour operators who decided that alert 2, extra activity and a heightened likelihood of an eruption, is quite ok.

 

I hope they dont close it, but alert 2 has to mean no go. Its a risk, you are meters from the crater, so any unusual behaviour over that alert 1 risk has to be no go.  

 

 

Sorry TD but there are regulation and standards - https://www.adventuremark.co.nz is what White Island Tours is accredited under and have held it for many years there is also https://www.qualworx.org

 

Alert Level is just one factor though TD

 


I totally disagree that a blanket Level 2 = No Go! that would be some years we shut the Tongariro Crossing and Mt Ruapehu for tramping and winter activities on the mountain.

 

 

Ok, but thats what he said. Re Alert 2 is within parameters, his words.

 

Does In a crater, 3 meters from the crater lake equal the risk on the Crossing or skiing on Ruapehu? DoC closed Ruapehu summit on a alert 2 but not the ski field as thats farther. 

 

Your argument, which I respect immensely, means that safety issues at WI are not on an issue, but the tragedies are bad luck, unlucky on an at risk venture? I can see that based on the detail you gave, but to me, being IN the crater, 3 metres from the lake in the crater, is a vastly different risk than any other volcanic adventure.  


1556 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2375025 13-Dec-2019 20:20
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Looks like the batteries on some of the equipment might have died as the drums have stopped reporting? They still seem to be sending back *something* but indicating a much lower level of the thing they are reporting. I'm sure Geonet will be able to fill us in on what is happening as it looks like someone just unplugged the whole damn volcano. 


817 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2375098 14-Dec-2019 01:18
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GV27:

 

Looks like the batteries on some of the equipment might have died as the drums have stopped reporting? They still seem to be sending back *something* but indicating a much lower level of the thing they are reporting. I'm sure Geonet will be able to fill us in on what is happening as it looks like someone just unplugged the whole damn volcano. 

 

 

 

 

Some monitoring equipment is partially buried under ash and may stop functioning over the weekend as batteries run out. However, we are still receiving data from the remaining equipment which allows us to monitor the volcano.


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  # 2375100 14-Dec-2019 06:23
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Pandora's box ejecting new cans of worms everyday. Now they say the helicopters are not registered for adverture tourism. What does that even mean!




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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  # 2375101 14-Dec-2019 07:26
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MikeB4:

 

 SAR = Search And Recovery

 

 

Actually it's Search And Rescue.

 

Recovery does sometimes become their function if people have died before they can be rescued.

 

 


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  # 2375104 14-Dec-2019 07:42
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Batman: Pandora's box ejecting new cans of worms everyday. Now they say the helicopters are not registered for adverture tourism. What does that even mean!

 

"Adventure aviation" is a category of aircraft operation, not of registration. Companies can be registered to do this. For example, to provide aerobatics or military jet flights... things other than the normal A to B or scenic flights.

 

Conceivably, you could set up a company to fly tourists in helicopters to land in the crater of an active volcano, in which case you might register your company in the "adventure aviation" category, and have to have plans to manage the risks involved.

 

Or you could just register as a usual helicopter scenic flight operator, on the basis that you're just flying people to and from White Island. I don't know whether legally that would preclude you from landing in the crater of an active volcano though.

 

 




9011 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2375117 14-Dec-2019 08:19
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The current drum chart:

 

So, about 14 hours ago, seismic activity dropped suddenly to a low level, one small burp about 30 minutes later, and it's stayed like that since. It's not an instrument problem, the other instruments show the same sudden drop.  Coincidentally, the last alert bulletin was 14 hours ago and mentioned that activity had declined but still at high level, but once they'd posted that - it dropped to very low level.  I've seen it do this before, sometimes it stays low, sometimes it builds up again gradually - sometimes it builds up fast. Is it safer now?  I don't know.


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Uber Geek


  # 2375118 14-Dec-2019 08:26
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Fred99:

 

The current drum chart:

 

So, about 14 hours ago, seismic activity dropped suddenly to a low level, one small burp about 30 minutes later, and it's stayed like that since. It's not an instrument problem, the other instruments show the same sudden drop.  Coincidentally, the last alert bulletin was 14 hours ago and mentioned that activity had declined but still at high level, but once they'd posted that - it dropped to very low level.  I've seen it do this before, sometimes it stays low, sometimes it builds up again gradually - sometimes it builds up fast. Is it safer now?  I don't know.

 

 

They did say that instruments are covered in ash in some places and will be running low on power:

 

Some monitoring equipment is partially buried under ash and may stop functioning over the weekend as batteries run out. However, we are still receiving data from the remaining equipment which allows us to monitor the volcano.

 

If the telemetry from the volcano is going through a single point like a daisy chain network and that particular unit has had a power issue then it would explain the greatly reduced readings across multiple sites. I'm not familiar with how these things are set up.

 

Given the webcam shows it still visibly steaming at the moment I'm inclined to think equipment issue. That's not to say they don't have information coming off the island than the drums shown, and they will be getting visual information and scans to help with the rescue operation. 


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