Hoping against hope for Brisbane mum, daughter

MORE than a dozen Australians, including a Brisbane mother and daughter, were still unaccounted for at the killer White Island volcano - at best they are lying in hospital beds unable to contact family, at worst they are dead.

Julie and Jessica Richards, aged 47 and 20, were listed as missing by Jessica's father Tony Richards.

The pair, from Calamvale, were holidaying together on board the Ovation of the Sea cruise ship, Julie's sister Barbara Whitehead said yesterday.

It is believed they had booked an excursion to White Island during their holiday.

"We still haven't heard anything yet," Ms Whitehead said.

Julie is listed as a director and part-owner of electronic design and manufacture company Vtron Pty Ltd, which is based on the Gold Coast, Jessica is studying veterinary ­science at the University of Queensland, according to friend Tayla Delaforce, who said she was passionate about the course.

"She was always so in love with it through high school, she was definitely passionate about it," she said, describing Jessica as "one of the nicest people" she had ever met.

"She's lovely... and would do anything for anyone who asked - just very generous and a happy soul. And ... loved animals," she said.

 

Julie and Jessica Richards are missing.
Julie and Jessica Richards are missing.

 

The mother and daughter are from Calamvale.
The mother and daughter are from Calamvale.

 

Two Sydney families of four were also among those unaccounted for yesterday.

The Langford family - including parents Anthony and Kristine and their children Jesse, 19, and Winona, 17 - left Sydney on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship last week and loved ones were yesterday clinging to hope.

Jesse's former principal at Marist College North Shore, Tony Duncan, said in a statement: "it is with a heavy heart that I can confirm to you that several members of our ­Marist North Shore family are missing".

"Jesse, who graduated last year was a talented and popular student during his time at the school, finishing up as Mackillop House captain.

"Jesse has been a student at Marist since Year 7, with his family remembered fondly around the College.

"Please have the Langford family in your prayers."

Anthony's brother Rodney, who lives in a duplex beside his brother's family, said he desperately wanted more information.

"We know that they went on a cruise on the island and there's an explosion and they're missing," he said.

"I'm hoping somebody knows anything, has seen my brother, knows my brother."

 

 

Sydney's Knox Grammar School yesterday informed parents that Year 8 student Matthew Hollander and Year 10 student Berend Hollander, along with their parents Martin and Barbara, were missing.

"It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm that a Knox family is currently unaccounted for... in the eruption," headmaster Scott James wrote.

An Adelaide family - lawyer Gavin Dallow, 53, his partner Lisa Hosking, 48, and her daughter Zoe Hosking, 15 - were also listed as missing by the Red Cross last night, having taken a day trip onto the island from the cruise. Lisa has since been found in hospital.

Mr Dallow's father Brian said "I'm wrecked" as he waited anxiously for more news from authorities.

"We had the phone with us all last night … we don't know anything, we haven't heard anything," Brian said.

New Zealand organisation Restoring Family Links has been collating names of missing people following the tragedy and also listed seven-year-old Australian boy Ziggy Viero as missing.

Ziggy is believed to be from Ayr, south of Townsville.

His name was taken down from the missing persons list yesterday afternoon, suggesting he had been found.

 

Another Brisbane couple, James and Madeleine Whitehouse, have been found safe.
Another Brisbane couple, James and Madeleine Whitehouse, have been found safe.

 

Meanwhile, married Brisbane couple James and Madeleine Whitehouse, aged 23 and 24 respectively, were reported safe and well by Mrs Whitehouse's employer the Salvation Army.

Brisbane woman, Amy Miall, 30, was also reported as alive and well by her brother Tony Miall. Amy's partner Mathew Thomas, 31, from Tamworth, was also safe.

Townsville woman Karen Brechin, 62, was found after being reported missing on Monday, as was Townsville man Robert Rogers, 78.

Both were on board a cruise ship nearby.

Coffs Harbour couple Richard Elzer, 32, and Karla Mathews, 32, remained missing, while Jason Griffiths, 33, who they were travelling with was being treated in hospital.

Mr Griffiths' brother-in-law Steve Jarzynski told New Zealand media he was in a critical condition.

"He's hurt pretty bad," Mr Jarzynski told stuff.co.nz.

Mr Jarzynski said his wife, Melissa, was trying to get to New Zealand to be with her brother but was struggling to afford flights.

Additional reporting Thomas Chamberlin, Nick Hansen and Adella Beaini



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