Daily News Roundup

December 16, 2019

Passengers have disembarked at Sydney Harbour from the cruise ship at the centre of the New Zealand volcano disaster, with some complaining about a lack of information given while on board the ship.

MONDAY December 16 

Passengers have disembarked at Sydney Harbour from the cruise ship at the centre of the New Zealand volcano disaster, with some complaining about a lack of information given while on board the ship.

The Ovation of the Seas arrived back in Circular Quay in Sydney this morning a week after the New Zealand Volcano tragedy, in which 16 people have now died. 

47 people, including 24 Australian citizens and four permanent residents were on White Island on a tour when the volcano erupted seven days ago. 

The cruise resumed its journey several days later and arrived at Sydney’s Circular Quay at 6am. 

Passengers described a sense of guilt and helplessness as the tragic news filtered through. 

“We knew something was happening, but we didn’t know what and then when the news started filtering through it was quite sad to be honest with you, you realise how fragile life is. I’m here with a family of four children and we could have been on that tour,” one passenger told 9news.com.au.

“There was a bit of guilt as well that it could have been anyone”, he added, who was on another tour and returning by boat when the news came through the radio. 

Other passengers told 9News.com.au how the captain of the ship had been left “devastated” and that waiting around for updates had been the hardest part. 

Other passengers said they were left feeling frustrated after being kept on the ship with no information. 

One of the male victims caught in Monday’s White Island volcano eruption died in Sydney’s Concord Hospital, NSW Health said in a statement on Sunday, bringing the number of Australians killed to ten. 

Two patients remain in critical condition at Concord Hospital where another is stable. 


South-East Queensland is in for scorching temperatures today with the weather bureau anticipating that records could be broken. 

Brisbane is expected to hit 39 degrees Celsius. 

Ipswich, Laidley and Esk are all forecast to reach 43C, with Boonah and Beaudesert heading towards 42C. 

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jonty Hall said the hot conditions were blowing in from the west. 

“It is certainly going to be a warm day around the place,” he said. 

“Westerly winds are going to push pretty much all the way to the coast in South-East Queensland today so it’s going to lead to quite a hot day really wherever you are in the south-east today.”

He said temperatures would test December records in some places. 

“Gatton’s record is 42 degrees and we’re actually forecasting 43 so we’re fairly confident that one is going to go,” Mr Hall said. 

“The slightly brighter news is it’s really the last one. We’ve got a bit of relief coming through late today in the form of a south-easterly wind change, then some slightly milder conditions for a couple of days.” 

A severe fire danger is forecast for Central Highlands, Coalfields, South-East Coast, Wide Bay and Burnett districts. 

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said people need to pay attention to their health. 

“Drink plenty of fluids, preferably cool water regularly throughout the day –  don’t wait until you’re thirsty,” she said. 

“Stay indoors when possible, preferable in a building with air conditioning or good air flow and limit strenuous outdoor activity. 


A man has been charged with the murder of Sarah Gatt, whose body was found in the bathtub of her unit in Melbourne’s inner west almost two years ago. 

Homicide squad detectives yesterday charged a 52-year-old Thomastown man with one count of murder. 

He is set to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today. 

Ms Gatt’s body was found in her unit in Kensington on January 3, 2018, when police smelled a bad odour while visiting the street for an unrelated matter. 

Police said they believed Ms Gatt had been attacked in April 2017, and her body had been in the home for more than eight months. 

Investigators believed someone was living at the property “on and off” when Ms Gatt’s body was found. 

Efforts were said to have been made to hide the body in the unit and make out that she was still alive. 

Ms Gatt, 40 had four children, but none of them were living with her when she died.

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