Shock Australian Grenfell Tower discovery
AUSTRALIANS were among the 71 dead in the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been forced to reveal after nearly a year.
The Australian reports Victoria King, 71, and her daughter Alexandra Atala, 40, were the last two victims who were identified in the blaze by Westminster coroner Fiona Wilcox in November.
They were discovered dead in their 20th-floor flat by emergency services in the days after the tragedy.
But the Australian government didn't acknowledge Australia's loss in the June 2017 inferno until this week, when after repeated questions from the newspaper across several months, DFAT finally revealed the truth.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can confirm that two Australian citizens died in the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017," a spokesman told the newspaper.
However officials wouldn't divulge names or ages citing privacy reasons, but The Australian discovered it was King and Atalia who died in the blaze, and were long-term residents of the doomed tower. King celebrated her 71st birthday just two days before her untimely death.
King and Atala were "devoted to one another", their family said in a statement issued soon after the fire. "We were devastated to hear of our sister Vicky's fate, and that of her daughter, Alexandra, in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
"Some comfort can come from the knowledge that she and Alexandra were devoted to one another and spent so many mutually supportive years together. They died at each other's side and now they can rest together in peace. We will remember them always.''
King and Atala were found next to each other inside their flat, No 172, and were identified by the coroner on November 15.
The official cause of death was ruled as being consistent with the effects of fire.
The Grenfell Tower fire broke out in the early hours of June 14 at the 24-storey block of public housing flats in the borough of North Kensington, in West London.
It caused 71 deaths and over 70 injuries.