Survivors Of Volcano Eruption Being Treated Across New Zealand, Police Say
UPDATE: It has since emerged that 30 survivors are being treated in hospitals across New Zealand. For the latest updates, click here.
Police in New Zealand believe no one has survived the volcanic eruption on the White Island.
The island, which is the country’s most active volcano, erupted at around 2.11pm local time (01.11 GMT).
Officials previously confirmed five people had died in the blast, however the number will now rise to around 50 to include those who were still on the island when it erupted.
Police say there have been ‘no signs of life’ spotted at any point on the island since the eruption.
Head officers previously said it was too dangerous for emergency services to search the island, which is still regarded as unstable, for survivors.
It’s feared about 50 New Zealanders and foreign tourists were near the volcano, while several were spotted near the rim of the crater just minutes before it erupted.
Tourists regularly visit the island as part of day tours, and one group from the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner was there at the time. It’s believed the tourists caught in the blast came from America.
Some other tour operators removed its guests from the island before it was declared unsafe, with 23 people being rescued according to police, who confirmed others were still on the island at the time.
New Zealand police said in a statement:
The Police Eagle helicopter, rescue helicopter, and NZDF aircraft have undertaken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption.
No signs of life have been seen at any point.
Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation.
Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.
[We are] working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already.
Experts have said they believed the island to be at risk for some time before it was actually declared as dangerous.
As per the Australian Science Media Centre, Ray Cas, a professor emeritus at Monash University, said:
Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter.
This morning’s blast was the first deadly eruption on the White Island since 1914.
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