New Zealand volcano erupts, One killed and tourists ‘unaccounted for’ after eruption
About 50 tourists were believed to be in the immediate ares of the volcano when it exploded, sending massive plumes of steam and debris into the air. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, said that some people are unaccounted for, among them foreign tourists.
The island is regularly visited by small groups of tourists. Cameras providing a live feed from the volcano showed more than half a dozen people walking inside the rim at 2:10pm local time (1.10am GMT) before images went dark when the eruption occurred minutes later.
New Zealand’s national emergency management agency said: “A volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.”Police said:
“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.””Some of those people have been transported to shore, however a number believed to be on the island are currently unaccounted for.
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
Of those transported to shore, at least one has been critically injured.”The local mayor confirmed that people have been injured. “I’m not sure if these people were on the island or near it, but there was definitely one group out there and they definitely needed medical care,” Judy Turner said.
There were some injuries and focus is on getting these injured people back safely and to get them to a hospital.”Michael Schade, a visitor to the island, said he and his family had left the island “20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it.””This is so hard to believe,” he said on Twitter.
“Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before. My thoughts with the families of those currently unaccounted for, the people recovering now, and especially the rescue workers…”
WATCH: Dramatic video shows moment volcano erupts at White Island in New Zealand; an unknown number of people are missing pic.twitter.com/Ei8uMysms4
— BNO News (@BNONews) December 9, 2019
It is very much an evolving situation and of course all our thoughts are with those affected,” she told reporters in Wellington. Local media are reporting that several people were injured after the island in the Bay of Plenty, about 30 miles from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, erupted.
John Tims, New Zealand’s deputy police commissioner, said that it was currently too dangerous to attempt rescues. St John Ambulance said that 23 people, believed to be tourists from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship, had been removed from the island.