New Zealand volcano eruption killed already five people as of the writing, and eight people are still missing, which included American tourists. The volcano is on an island off the coast of New Zealand, the Whakaari White Island. The volcano’s last eruption was in 2001 before this.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the “unfathomable grief” and that tourists from different countries, Australia, China, Malaysia, and the UK, are also missing. There is a possibility that there are no survivors on the island. It has been covered by foot-thick ash. There have been some flights over the island but showed no signs of life.
The prime minister also announced that 31 people were rescued. And have been brought to the hospital. Three of them were already discharged.
This volcano is the most active in the county. It is about 30 miles off from the coast of New Zealand and erupted at 2:1 PM (8:11 P.M. Sunday ET).
A commercial fisherman described it “It just looked like what you see of a nuclear bomb going off is what it looked like, was turning into a mushroom cloud. The way it just expanded around itself and just went straight up into the sky.”
The search and rescue operations were put to a halt because it was still unsafe for them to go near the island as per the country’s deputy commissioner, John Tims. Twenty-three people have been transferred after the eruptions. Most of them have burned. Unfortunately, the five tragedy was part of the group. It was believed that 50 people were on the island when that occurrence happened. Tims yet released no names but only gave the national identities of the victims.
Witnesses like Michael Schade of San Francisco foretell what he saw and uploaded and shared on his Twitter a video, “My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for the first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, was waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable.#whiteisland”
The spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Jonathon Fishman, told NBC News that there were guests aboard the ship, Aviation of the Seas, and were touring the island. Inside that hour, GeoNet camera showed tourists walking near the rim of the crater, white smoke billowing. This camera also showed different views and captured images every 10 minutes. At the 2:00, the crater rim camera was able to still take a photo of people at the edge of the rim. One minute before it erupted, people headed away from its side.
New Zealand has one of the most tectonically volatile volcanoes. Volcanologists said that although the eruption was relatively small as to its past eruptions, it would still cause severe dangers to people. This cone volcano is built for more than 150,000 years. Furthermore, White Island is also dubbed as “one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes” on a White Island Tours website.