New Zealand volcano erupts: Tourists injured and others 'unaccounted for'
New Zealand's prime minister has said a number of tourists have been injured and others are "unaccounted for" after a volcano on a small island started to erupt. The eruption began at about 2.30pm local time on White Island, which is uninhabited but frequented by tourists.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said about 100 tourists were on or near the island when it erupted.Some of those, at this stage, are unaccounted for, she said."A number of people are reportedly injured and are being transported to shore," she added.© Other The volcano on White Island erupts.
Reconnaissance flights over New Zealand 's White Island volcano have not identified any survivors there after Monday's eruption Tourists were seen walking inside the crater of White Island volcano moments before it erupted. White Island , also called Whakaari, is the country's most active volcano .
White Island is New Zealand 's most active cone volcano . It last erupted in 2016, without causing injuries. The last fatal eruption was in 1914 The Icelandic volcano with a famously unpronounceable name erupted in 2010, throwing up a massive cloud of ash into the air and disrupting air traffic all
The tourists were passengers on Ovation of the Seas, a cruise ship that departed Sydney on December 4 bound for New Zealand's North Island.
Some 24 guests booked the seven-hour trip to visit White Island from the port in Tauranga, paying up to $324 each.
One dead, fears toll will rise after New Zealand's White Island volcano erupts without warning
New Zealand police have confirmed one person is dead, and say they fear the death toll may rise, after a devastating volcanic eruption on the country's White Island.More than 20 people are still missing after the eruption, which happened at 2:11pm local time and sent plumes of white smoke and debris 12,000 feet into the sky.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. Michael Schade of San Francisco had just left the volcano and was starting to eat lunch on a tour boat when White Island eruption was also visible on satellite images. In the hour before the eruption, a camera
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that many people remain unaccounted for after a volcano erupted on an uninhabited island off the coast. A plume of ash was seen towering thousands of feet in the air from White Island , northeast of the North Island town of Tauranga.
When the volcano erupted yesterday at 2:11pm, the tour group was exploring the island's crater. Three Australians are believed to be among the confirmed dead and another eight are missing, though rescuers hold little hope for further survivors.
'Gas masks help you get up close'
Passengers opting for the "White Island Volcano Experience Cruise" start their trip with a scenic boat ride along the Bay of Plenty.
Inflatable Zodiac crafts then take passengers "directly into the crater complex", according to a brochure seen by the ABC.
"Since the majority of the volcano sits beneath the sea, you head straight to the action without much, if any, climbing at all," the brochure says.
Tourist tweets escape from New Zealand's White Island volcano
Tourist tweets escape from New Zealand's White Island volcano"My God, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it," he tweeted.
Images from the White Island Crater Rim camera appear to show people at 2.10pm. 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 .
New Zealand White Island volcano eruption Live: White Island volcano eruption: Plumes of smoke, reports of multiple injuries in Bay of Plenty A rescue
Breathing apparatus and gas masks are handed out so the tourists can see the volcanic activity firsthand.
A tweet by Scott Kelly, who took a helicopter trip to the island last year, shows visitors wearing gas masks.
Pictures: New Zealand volcano eruption
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The breathing equipment allows tourists to "get up close to roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and the amazing lake of steaming acid", the Ovation of the Seas brochure says.
Another traveller, who visited the island with an unspecified tour operator in November, described the scenery as "absolutely stunning".
The brochure from Ovation of the Seas does not warn guests that the volcano could erupt or that there is a risk of injury.
However, the tour operator urges guests to consider their physical fitness and medical history before booking the tour, warning that "some excursions could be physically strenuous".
People with pre-existing conditions — including knee injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart or respiratory conditions — were urged to "take particular caution" when selecting a tour, while those in wheelchairs or limited mobility were advised not to book the trip.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, the operator of Ovation of the Seas, said the incident was "devastating".
"We are working to help our guests and the authorities in the aftermath of this tragedy in any way we can," it said in a statement.
Crew and passengers hold vigil
The ship's crew and passengers gathered with members of the local Tauranga community at the port today to pay their respects to the victims of the disaster.
Relatives in Australia who are concerned about family and friends travelling on the ship are advised to call 1300 026 240.
People travelling with injured victims have been directed to a support station set up on the ship.
Questions mount over tours to deadly New Zealand volcano .
Questions mount over tours to deadly New Zealand volcanoWHAKATANE/WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Tourists caught in the deadly blast at New Zealand's White Island were there despite a recent increase in volcanic activity, although experts said precise predictions on eruptions were all but impossible.