5 dead and dozens injured as NZ’s most active volcano erupts on White Island (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Five people have been confirmed dead after a volcano erupted in New Zealand off the coast of the Bay of Plenty. A rescue effort has been launched amid reports that around 50 people may have been on or near the island.
“At this stage, it is too dangerous for police and rescue to go onto the island... [It] is currently covered in ash and volcanic material,” Deputy Commissioner of Police John Tims told reporters. Police later confirmed five people have died.
#LATEST There are fears for people who were on the island at the time of the eruption. Images from the White Island Crater Rim camera appear to show people at 2.10pm. The explosions happened shortly after.LIVE UPDATES ➡️ https://t.co/prg5zz4banpic.twitter.com/s3iBIl2Qo3— nzherald (@nzherald) December 9, 2019
Police earlier said that fewer than 50 people may have been near or on the island during the eruption, and some of them are still “unaccounted for,” while others have been evacuated. At least one person was reported as being critically injured.
The majority of those who have been affected by the eruption are said to be tourists who arrived on the island on board the cruise ship ‘Ovation of the Sea,’ the largest cruise vessel on the route.
More photos (before = black beach, after = grey beach plus plenty of stuff in the ocean) #NewZealand#Waakari#WhiteIsland#volcano -- ash blast zone seems to be visible in the second photo from today. pic.twitter.com/hMq7qpFhpm— AI6YR (@ai6yrham) December 9, 2019
The volcano erupted at around 2:11pm local time, ejecting plumes of ash and grey smoke 12,000 feet into the air.Also on rt.com Italy’s Stromboli volcano erupts in huge explosion spewing lava & ash (VIDEOS)
Those are some of the people put boat picked up. Praying for them and their recovery. Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end.The helicopters on the island looked destroyed: pic.twitter.com/jds5QBD1yg— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
A no-fly zone has been declared around the island.
A report in the New Zealand Herald says the majority of those injured in the volcano eruption were passengers on this cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, who were visiting White Island during the day pic.twitter.com/lwXS9NfWRb— Steve Lookner (@lookner) December 9, 2019
Despite being the country’s most active volcano, prone to sudden eruptions, White Island has remained a popular tourist attraction, attracting crowds of eager visitors every day on boat and walking tours.
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