Australian is 20th fatality in New Zealand volcano eruption

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) — An Australian man who was injured in a volcanic eruption in New Zealand more than a month ago has died, becoming the 20th victim of the disaster, officials said yesterday.

Paul Browitt and his two daughters were caught in the December 9 eruption on White Island. The body of Krystal Browitt, 21, was among six recovered from the island in the days after the eruption.

Paul Browitt and his daughter Stephanie Browitt, 23, survived the eruption and were transferred to Alfred Hospital in their hometown of Melbourne three days after the disaster.

A police statement confirmed Paul Browitt died on Sunday night as a result of injuries from the eruption. A hospital statement said he had been critically ill.

Maria Browitt, the wife and mother of the victims, had remained on a ship while her family took a day trip to the island.

Of 23 victims who remain in hospitals in New Zealand and Australia, at least five are listed as in critical condition, health authorities said.