Published: Mon, December 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

'Up to 20 people injured' as volcano erupts off New Zealand coast

'Up to 20 people injured' as volcano erupts off New Zealand coast

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "around 100 people were around or on" White Island at the time of the eruption this afternoon, and not all of them are accounted for.

A volcano erupted on New Zealand's White Island on Monday, according to the country's emergency management agency. Meanwhile, officials have told Newstalk ZB that up to 20 people are believed to be in need of medical assistance.

A level four alert indicates moderate volcanic eruption and hazards on and near volcano. A spokesperson said a mobile triage unit was on its way to the island.

Camera IconThe White Island Crater Rim camera showed a string of people visiting the crater at the time of the eruption.

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The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year.

Civil defence authority warned that the situation was hazardous "in the immediate vicinity of the volcano", which is 48 kilometres off the coast of Bay of Plenty, a sunny, beachfront region popular with tourists.

Police were asking people to avoid areas on the North Island that were close to the eruption, including the Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive areas. "Ash falls may impact areas distant from the volcano".

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