Home Asia People ‘unaccounted for’ after volcano erupts in New Zealand

People ‘unaccounted for’ after volcano erupts in New Zealand

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Smoke above White IslandImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Despite being an active volcano, White Island is a tourist destination

A volcano has erupted in New Zealand with fewer than 50 people in the vicinity – leaving “a number of them” unaccounted for, police said.

Tourists were seen walking inside the rim of the White Island crater just moments before the eruption.

Police said at least one of those evacuated from the island volcano has been critically injured.

White Island, or Whakaari, is off the coast of North Island – and is one the country’s most active volcanoes.

Despite that, the island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.

A live feed from the volcano showed a group of visitors inside the crater before images went dark after the eruption.

Image caption

Stills from a live feed show the crater minutes before the eruption

“While it was initially believed there were approximately 100 people on or near the island at the time of the eruption, we now believe there were fewer than 50,” police said.

“Some of those people have been transported to shore, however a number believed to be on the island are currently unaccounted for.

“Of those transported to shore, at least one has been critically injured.”

The eruption began around 2:11pm local time (01:11 GMT), throwing a thick plume of white ash and smoke into the air.

The country’s National Emergency Management Agency said a “volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano”.

Geological hazard monitoring website GeoNet said monitoring equipment on the volcano suggested there were “no signs of escalation”.

Police are warning people living near the area to “be aware of the potential for ashfall” and to stay indoors.





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