At least five people were killed, up to 20 injured and several reported missing, after a volcano suddenly erupted off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island on Monday.
Deputy Police Commissioner, John Tims, said at a news conference that rescuers could not access the island.
Police said more casualties were feared on White Island, where the volcano erupted at about 2.11 p.m. (0111 GMT), spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air.
About 50 people, New Zealanders and foreign tourists, were feared to have been nearby and several were seen near the rim of the crater, minutes before the eruption.
Many tourists visit the island regularly and one from the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner was there at the time.
Twenty-three people were rescued, the Police said, adding that others were still on the island.
We are unsure of the numbers and unsure of their well-being,’’ Tims said.
“The physical environment is unsafe for us to return.’’
St. John Ambulance said up to 20 people were believed to have been injured in the eruption, adding that a mobile triage unit was on its way.
The organisation said it had sent seven helicopters with medics on board.
Michael Schade, an engineering manager from San Francisco, was one of the tourists who made it off the island just before the eruption.
In a video Schade posted on Twitter as he sped away from the island by boat, a huge plume of white ash soars into the sky as a group of frightened tourists huddle close to the shore.
This is so hard to believe,’’ Schade said.
“Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before.’’
A crater rim camera owned and operated by New Zealand science agency, GeoNet, shows groups of people walking toward and away from the rim inside the crater, from which white vapour constantly billows, in the hour leading up to the eruption.
At 2.00 p.m. the crater rim camera catches a group of people – tiny specks in relation to the vast volcano – right at the edge of the rim.
At 2.10 p.m., just a minute before the eruption, the group is headed away from the rim, following a well-worn track across the crater.
White Island is about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the east coast of North Island and huge plumes were visible from the mainland.
Volcanologists said the ash plume shot 12,000 feet (3,658 m) into the air.
We know that there were a number of tourists on or around the island at the time, both New Zealanders and visitors from overseas,’’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference.
I know there will be a huge amount of concern and anxiety for those who had loved ones on or around the island at the time.
“I can assure them that the Police are doing everything they can.’’
On Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians had been affected by the eruption and the government was trying to learn more.
Twenty-four Australians were on White Island when the volcano erupted, Australian media said.
Kevin O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association, said “we believe there is a tour party from Ovation of the Seas involved in the White Island eruption.
We have no further details at the moment’’.
Ovation of the Seas is a 16-deck cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises.
It can take nearly 5,000 passengers and has a crew of about 1,500.
It is docked at Tauranga, on the North Island, on a cruise that began in Sydney on Dec. 3.
We can confirm that a number of our guests were touring the island today,’’ a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.
“We do not have any additional details to share at this time.’’
There seemed to be no danger for people in coastal areas farther away, authorities said.
The eruption was unexpected, but not unusual, an expert said.
Geological hazard tracker, GeoNet, raised the alert level for the White Island volcano in November due to an increase in volcanic activity.
Just last week, GeoNet volcanologist, Brad Scott, said in a report that moderate volcanic unrest continued at White Island, with substantial gas, steam and mud bursts observed at the vent located at the back of the crater lake.
The White Island volcano is one of New Zealand’s most active.
‘Whakaari’, as it is known in Maori, is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years, according to GeoNet.
About 70 per cent is under the sea, making the massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.
Edited by: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
- Team Nigeria win 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze medal at African Track Championship
- FG to boost national economy with methanol production
- Gowon Estate: Mosan/Okunola inaugurates new CDA officers, tasks them on devt
- Teenager docked for allegedly stealing conduit wire
- Expired products: NAFDAC advises Nigerians to be vigilant
- LASEMA rescues trapped victim from collapsed 3-storey building
- Enugu Judiciary honours former Chief Judge, late Justice Eze Ozobu
- Ekiti court dissolves 3-year-old marriage
- JOHESU branch lauds Obiano, CMD on improved welfare
- Sri Lanka lifts ban on drones
- LASCODA, LASPARK to plant 500,000 urban-friendly coconut seedlings
- Sen. Gyang lauds security agencies over aid workers’ release
- N166bn debt: Electricity Coy begins mass disconnection in 4 states
- Kwara Govt. expresses concern over condition of students hostels
- Regulating gas plants’ locations to reduce explosions
- Court affirms Uzo as Senator-elect Anambra South, dashes Uba’s hopes
- Plateau Nurses association urge Lalong to employ Nurse freed from Boko Haram captivity
- Police wades into crises rocking Gariki cattle market in Enugu
- Vaccination, best prevention against hepatitis–Virologist
- Farmer urges government to train, empower women in goat farming
- Niger Delta Ministry pledges to resume work on pending projects in Imo
- National Museum in Lagos recorded 39,061 visitors in 2019, says official
- Nigeria public debt stands at N26.2 trillion – DMO
- Global Fund: Health Minister Ehanire appointed Chair of coordinating mechanism
- FEATURE: Migration, governance and media reporting
- Ex-husband docked over alleged N250,000 pregnancy maintenance arrears
- Kwara Govt distributes computers to MDAs
- NAN gets new NUJ chairman
- Special polio immunisation: Enugu State Govt. targets 1 million children
- Alleged N3.6bn fraud: Judge’s absence stalls trial of ex NDDC boss
- We can perform better with supports from stakeholders, says ex-beauty queen
- Driver, 2 technicians arraigned over alleged stealing of goods worth N2.1m
- Plateau Govt. trains 128 health workers for effective delivery of mosquito treated nets
- Uzodinma is best thing to happen to Imo – Omegara
- Association says mining challenges can be overcome with political will
- FRSC condoles with Ore-Ijebu Ode-Sagamu accident victims
- Blame INEC for Imo S/Court verdict – Esele
- Landlord docked for allegedly locking tenant out of apartment
- Brain Drain: Association calls for improved welfare for doctors
- Man in court over alleged car theft
- Bauchi Govt. to re-open abandoned museum to boost tourism
- Mechanic docked for allegedly stealing 2 goats
- Town Union to foot JAMB bill for 150 candidates of Anambra community
- Zulum appoints chairman, 12-member Borrno Healthcare Contributory Scheme
- Auto mechanic in court for allegedly defrauding customer of N130,000
- Adamawa to designate court for rape cases- Attorney General
- Teenager faces trial over alleged stealing, breach of peace
- Welder docked for allegedly stealing phone, N16,000 cash
- Kaduna govt. constitutes committee to collate data on Almajiris
- Buhari greets Chief Emeka Anyaoku at 87
- Scavenger docked over alleged theft of generator valued N25,000
- Man in court for allegedly beating wife to stupor
- U.S-based Imo indigenes react to Supreme Court verdict
- Plateau youths sack chairman over financial recklessness, abuse of office
- Commissioner seeks support for education in Kwara
- Akeredolu reconstitutes task force on farmers in govt’s forest reserves
- 4 men in court over alleged cultism
- Inflation rises to 11.98% in December–NBS
- Oyo farmers pray for early, stable rains
- Woman remanded for allegedly stabbing neighbour to death
- Immunisation: Nassarawa State Govt.engages traditional institution
- Man in court for allegedly stealing frozen chicken
- Wrestling Federation happy over Adekuoroye’s gold medal in Rome tournament
- FRSC decorates 34 newly-promoted officers in Anambra
- Akesan market: FG hands over building materials to Oyo govt.
- Fuel tanker burns in Onitsha again, no casualty – FRSC
- Exam malpractice: Kwara govt. to sanction delisted schools
- FG to site specialised agricultural market in Osun
- Obisesan assures aggrieved Oyo APC stakeholders of fairness
- Cash transfer : Beneficiaries in Oyo rural communities laud FG
- Comedy now one of Nigeria’s major exports – Shete
- Don urges lecturers to eschew acts inimical to university education
- FAAC: FG, states, LGs share N716.2bn for month of December
- VAT implementation takes effect Feb. 1– finance minister
- APGA leadership tussle: Justice has prevailed, says Njoku
- Gov. Abdulrazaq announces death of Oniyangi, prominent Kwara medical doctor
- Gov. Sule assures women of inclusive leadership
- Sagamu-Benin Expressway accident claims 9, three others injured
- Maritime key to economic development – Dangote
- Nigeria not ready for implementation of Eco Single Currency in 2020– Onyeama
- Gov. Wike approves payment of minimum wage to workers in Rivers
- Gunmen rob palm oil merchant of N1m in Umuahia
- NiMet predicts thunderstorms, haze condition for Friday
- Coker, ex-Queens’ College Principal’s death, big loss to education sector- Association
- NiMet to release 2020 rainfall prediction Jan. 21
- Police rescues 19 children from illegal orphanage in Kano
- FG set to replace fuel with Compressed Natural Gas to stop subsidy payment
- Sanwo-Olu reshuffles cabinet
- Hidden camera caught cleric defiling toddler – witness tells court
- FCT health workers resume emergency service
- British deputy high commissioner tasks Nigeria on quality investment
- EFCC to strengthen existing collaboration with NYSC
- Sylva optimistic PIB will be passed before May
- NGO identifies measures to curb drug abuse in Nigeria
- Gov’s wife urges parents, guardians to protect wards against child abuse
- FRSC promotes, decorates 35 officers
- Nasarawa Govt. to beef up security around unity schools
- Why I train health workers on skills acquisitions – MHWUN Chairman
- Stakeholders in Plateau meets over disasters management, mitigation
- Buhari attends UK-Africa investment summit in London
- Anambra Assembly confirms 18, steps down 3 LG transition committee chairmen
- FRSC Plateau Zonal Command charges newly-promoted 174 personnel on safety roads usage
- Nigerian Army to strengthen military cooperation with Egypt -Buratai
- Lagos Assembly passes ammended Property Land Use Charge Bill
- Security: We stand for community policing in Nasarawa -Gov. Sule
- Gov. AbdulRazaq harps on irregular migration
- NAFDAC to host international trade conference on food, drugs Feb.
- Synergise regional security outfits — Yoruba leaders
- Kogi explains water scarcity in Lokoja, environs
- Accreditation: NBTE visits Kwara for National Diploma courses
- Ensure sustainability of LASU , VC urges staffs, students
- Border Closure: Customs seizes N500m goods in Kwara
- Nyako: Court dismisses defence plea to compel EFCC to produce 3 witnesses for cross-examination
- Minister assures adequate protection for health workers
- NPFL: Rangers 2-1 win over Warri Wolves FC excites coach
- Finance Act: MAN DG seeks transitional guidelines for smooth conversion
- Yobe Council of Chiefs condemns attack on Emir of Potiskum
- Governor’s wife launches de-worming exercise in Enugu
- TCN confirms collapse of national grid
- NUJ National President tasks Gombe on security of journalists
- Finance Act will boost revenue generation – experts
- Lagos Assembly confirms Sanwo-Olu’s 11 nominees
- Rwanda on high alert as swarm of locusts invades regional countries
- ECOWAS tasks members on increased budget for IDPs, refugees’ education
- Yobe workers to receive minimum wage in February
- Lagos Govt inaugurates additional 10 rescue boats
- Edo APC governorship aspirants forge front against Obaseki
- Seed Council tasks companies, dealers, farmers on preservation
- NANS lauds Makinde over Olojede’s appointment as SA Student Affairs
- Onu says Nigeria to land in Space soon, harps on importance of Science, engineering
- Nigeria outlines 9 focal areas to guide its foreign policy in next 4 years
- I will not tolerate exam malpractice, Gov. AbdulRazaq warns
- NSCDC rescues 4 victims of human trafficking
- Man bags 1 month imprisonment for failing to present accused son in court
- Democracy: Nigeria has made substantial progress in 20 years – Lawan
- Nigeria, other west African countries kick against adoption of ‘Eco’ as regional currency
- Buhari nominates Kingsley Obiorah as CBN Deputy Governor
- Sports enthusiasts, associates bid ex-NOC chief fare well
- Lebanese minister denies ordering use of force against protesters, press
- NSE: Indices rebound by one per cent, amid interest in high capitalised stocks
- Three PDP chieftains cry foul over suspension from party in Nasarawa
- FRSC boss tasks promoted officers on service delivery
- Internet fraud: Man bags 1 year jail term, forfeits N29.2m to FG
- APC tasks Akande on reconciliation of aggrieved members
- Synergy with dev partners key to addressing housing deficit – Minister
- Ondo 2020: Akeredolu calls on APC support groups to work together
- Increase in teacher-pupil ratio `ll boost quality education- BMO
- Ogun moves to ensure uniformity in school curricula
- My husband is grossly irresponsible, divorce-seeking woman tells court
- Lagos Special Adviser gives scholarships to 200 Badagry natives
- Kano commitee on drugs intercepts 145 cartons of expired drugs
- 21 ships laden with petroleum products, food items arrive Lagos Ports — NPA
- Cotton: Ekiti Speaker assures farmers of support
- Lagos Agripreneurship programme aptitude test holds Jan. 20- Commissioner
- Woman, 52, remanded for allegedly stealing jewelleries in Osun
- Fire: NEMA warns Anambra traders against storage of combustible materials in shops
- Police to reward information on murdered journalist
- Buhari pays tributes to Bisi Akande at 81
- Cab operators in C’River get 90-day ultimatum to paint vehicles
- Ikorodu LG promises even distribution of projects
- Four docked for allegedly impersonating police
- 45m people across Southern Africa face hunger – UN
- Housewife drags ex-husband to court over N60,000 antenatal fees
- Edo dry port to generate N24Bln, 15,000 jobs: Industrialist
- European business chamber seeks tougher stance on China
- Rainstorm: Saki residents commend Oyo govt. over relief materials
- Nigerian Army donates 20,000 books to IDPs camp school
- C’River INEC begins sensitisation of voters ahead re-run
- Tribunal upholds election of Chiya of APC as Chairman Kwali Area Council
- Niger rerun election: Police caution stakeholders against violence
- Man jailed for illegal possession of 3.5kg tramadol tablets
- Group backs committee on NDDC’s property, contracts verification
- Economic Growth: FCT traders beg FG for soft loans to expand businesses
- Disability Law: CCD to name offenders, violators
- My husband is a wife-beater, woman tells court
- Iran unrest halts Frankfurt archaeological exhibition
- Macron to attend Berlin Libya peace conference on Sunday
- Man, 42, faces murder charge in Lagos
- Again, Buhari meets NNPC GMD, Mela Kyari, at Aso Rock
- Violence: FCT doctors, health workers embark on protest walk
- Police arraign driver for allegedly assaulting Deputy Director
- Court remands man for allegedly stabbing another to death
- Centre solicits inclusion policy for PWDs, IDPs, others in education
- Rewane projects 2.2 per cent GDP growth in 2020
- Teacher defrauded 4 applicants of N855, 000 in job scam in 1 year – Witness alleges
- Court convicts 4 to 7 years’ imprisonment for stealing Indomie, cigarettes
- EU parliament condemns rights crackdown in Burundi ahead of 2020 election
- Security: Journalist inaugurates campaign on dangers of crime
- FAA should mandate safety management systems for Boeing, others- panel
- Alleged N11.5bn fraud: Court orders EFCC official, 6 others to appear in Alao-Akala trial
- NGO sensitises stakeholders on ending gender-based violence in Kaduna
- S/Court judgment: Ohaneze urges Imo residents to remain calm
- UN rights investigators say 5 million Syrian children displaced
- Afforestation: Emir of Daura advocates aggresive tree planting
- Supplies of IMO compliant shipping fuels rising fast – IEA
- Malaysia talks to India over palm curbs as wider trade dispute looms
- Train derails in eastern India, injuring 16
- Alleged N54.3m fraud: Court fixes March 2 to hear case against ex-NEMA Director
- Bricklayer appears in court for allegedly stealing electronics
- DPR urges marketers, LPG retailers to remain patriotic