volcanic eruption

White Island:

Around 50 tourists have been surprised by a volcanic eruption on a New Zealand island. There are at least five dead, Prime Minister Jacina Ardern speaks of a "serious incident".

A volcanic eruption on an island belonging to New Zealand has killed at least five people, according to police.

A two-digit number of people is missing, the police said on Monday. Police officer John Tims said earlier that the death toll would probably increase.

It is currently too dangerous for the police and rescue teams to travel to the island of White Island. There was no contact with the missing persons.

At the time of the outbreak, fewer than 50 people would have been on the island, Tims said. Both New Zealanders and foreign tourists are missing or injured.

Tims said some of the injured had suffered burns. Some visitors to the island were, according to the cruise company Royal Caribbean International guests of his ship "Ovation of the Seas".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she would be travelling to the region on Monday evening.

Emergency personnel reported earlier that they expected 20 injured people on the island who needed medical treatment.

Police called on people to avoid areas on the New Zealand North Island near the volcano, including Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive.

Seven helicopters with paramedics on board were sent to the island. The police called on residents to shun areas on the New Zealand North Island near the volcano.

White Island is located about 50 kilometres north of the coast of New Zealand's North Island. Even from there, the huge ash cloud was visible over the island.

Brad Scott, a volcanologist at the Institute of Geology and Nuclear Research (GNS), said the eruption caused a cloud of ash and steam to rise to about 3660 meters in the sky. The eruption also had an impact on the crater floor.

The authority GeoNet raised their alert level after the volcanic eruption first to four - on the scale is five for a major outbreak.

The volcano on White Island is named by the Maori aborigines Whakaari. It is the most active volcano in New Zealand, about 70 per cent of the volcano are underwater.

On live images of the tourist-popular volcano, it had previously been seen how a group of visitors stayed at the bottom of the crater at the time of the eruption.

More than half a dozen people ran inside the crater rim when White Island volcano erupted at 2:10 pm (local time, 2:10 am CET). Then the picture went dark.

Tourists describe dramatic scenes:

The tourist Michael Schade posted a video of the eruption on Twitter. It showed a wall of ash and steam around the island and massively damaged helicopters covered with ashes.

"My God. My family and I did not leave the island 30 minutes earlier, waiting at our boat to drive away when we saw it, "Schade wrote about the eruption. "Taking care of people who saved our boat was indescribable."

Several companies today offer day tours for tourists. The island is visited by about 10,000 day-trippers per year. Researchers had recently reported an increase in volcanic activity.


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