New Zealand volcano: Police call off search for missing pair

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Winona Jane Langford, 17, and Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40
Image caption,
Winona Jane Langford, 17, and Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40, have been missing since the eruption

New Zealand police are calling off the search for two bodies still missing after the White Island eruption.

The volcanic eruption earlier this month killed 19 people, including two people who were never found.

It's thought the bodies of Winona Jane Langford, 17, and Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40, are in the water off the island.

Police said their decision "follows extensive shoreline and substantial aerial searches".

But despite those searches, "no further items of significance have been located".

"The families of the two missing people have been informed of this decision," said Superintendent Andy McGregor. "Police remain ready to respond if new information comes to light."

The eruption on White Island - a popular tourist destination - happened on 9 December.

There were 47 people on the island, with 24 from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one from Malaysia.

Last week, police released the names of 17 victims - all of them from Australia, New Zealand, or the US.

They said Mr Marshall-Inman, a local tour guide, and Ms Langford, who was visiting the island with her family from Sydney, were missing but presumed dead.

The eruption killed Ms Langford's parents, Anthony and Kristine, but her brother, Jesse, survived.

Media caption,

"Toxic gases and ash": The BBC's Shaimaa Khalil flies around White Island

After the eruption, a helicopter pilot who flew to White Island to rescue survivors said he saw Mr Marshall-Inman "beyond help".

Tom Storey - who knew Mr Marshall-Inman - told Newshub: "I just pulled him out from where he was and made him as comfortable as I could, just so he's there as we go back to get him."

After moving his friend, Mr Storey carried on saving other tourists. He wanted to go back but, with the volcano still erupting, was told not to, which he found "pretty hard to take".

"You kinda want a bit of closure for the families and yourself," he said. "You never want to start a job and not finish it."

When Mr Marshall-Inman's family confirmed his death, a local supermarket said he would regularly leave $5 ($3.30US, £2.50) to help pay for others' shopping.

The Langford family were passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship and visited White Island on a day tour.

The surviving son, Jesse, is believed to have suffered severe burns.