New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, White Island erupted on Monday, prompting fears for a group of visitors seen walking on the crater floor moments before. The country’s National Emergency Management Agency, said a “moderate volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.” About 100 people are believed to have been in the vicinity and Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, says some are unaccounted for. “Situation after the eruption was “significant and evolving”, she said.
Cameras providing a live feed from the volcano showed more than half a dozen people walking inside the rim at 2:10 pm local time (0110 GMT), before images went dark when the eruption occurred minutes later.
A volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) December 9, 2019
The local mayor said he feared there had been “injuries” in the eruption.
"I've got limited understanding at present other than there's been an eruption, that there have been some people who were on the island at the time, who have had some injuries," Whakatane mayor Judy Taylor told Radio NZ.
"I'm not sure of the extent or nature of those injuries... emergency services are all waiting for them to be returned from the island so they can attend to them.”