Five killed and more miss­ing in vol­cano tragedy

Evening Times - - THE WORLD TODAY -

FIVE peo­ple have been killed and many more are miss­ing after a vol­canic island in New Zealand erupted in a tower of ash and steam while dozens of tourists were ex­plor­ing the moon-like sur­face.

The site on White Island was still too dan­ger­ous hours later for po­lice and res­cuers to search for the miss­ing.

Po­lice deputy com­mis­sioner John Tims said the num­ber of those who re­mained miss­ing was in dou­ble fig­ures but he could not con­firm an ex­act num­ber.

He said there were fewer than 50 peo­ple on the island and 23 had been taken off, in­clud­ing the five dead.

Tims said ex­perts had told them the island re­mained un­sta­ble but search and res­cue teams wanted to get back as quickly as they could.

He said there had been no con­tact with any of those who were miss­ing.

Tims said both New Zealan­ders and over­seas tourists were among those who were dead, miss­ing or in­jured. He said most of the 18 who sur­vived were in­jured and some had suf­fered se­vere burns.

A spokesman for the UK’s For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice (FCO) said they are seek­ing “fur­ther in­for­ma­tion” from author­i­ties.

He said: “We are in close con­tact with the New Zealand author­i­ties fol­low­ing the vol­canic erup­tion on Whakaari/White Island and are seek­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.”

Some of those in­volved were guests from the Royal Caribbean In­ter­na­tional cruise ship Ova­tion of the Seas.

“A num­ber of our guests were tour­ing the island to­day,” the com­pany said.

“We will of­fer all pos­si­ble as­sis­tance to our guests and lo­cal author­i­ties. Please keep all those af­fected in your prayers.”

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