Saturday, 15 August

New Zealand volcano: At least five dead after White Island eruption

World News

A volcano has erupted in New Zealand, leaving five dead and several unaccounted for, police have said.

Tourists were seen walking inside the crater of White Island volcano just moments before the eruption.

Police said 23 people had been rescued, but warned conditions were hampering the operation. The New Zealand military is now helping police.

White Island, also known as Whakaari, is one of the country's most active volcanoes.

Despite that, the privately-owned island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.

In a police briefing, Deputy Police Commissioner John Tims said due to the risks, emergency services were not able to access the island.

Therefore how many people remain there is unclear, but he added that "both New Zealand and overseas tourists" were believed to be involved. Police had previously said fewer than 50 people were on the island.

He said the five people who died were "rescued from the island earlier that day".