WATCH: Updated – Volcano erupts in New Zealand, five dead and several unaccounted

A volcano erupted on White Island in New Zealand, leaving about five dead and several unaccounted for, police have said.

Twenty-three people have been rescued and the number of dead may rise, say police.

This photo of the eruption was 14:12, about a minute or two into the eruption. (Michael Schade photo)

White Island is off the coast of North Island and is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes.

The eruption of White Island began around 14:11 local time (01:11 GMT).

Tourist Michael Schade filmed the eruption and rescue efforts.

Tourist Michael Schade captures photos of the eruption.
White Island Tour operators rescuing people 12-14 minutes after eruption. (Michael Schade photo)

New Zealand Police said it was initially believed there were about 100 people on or near the island at the time of the eruption, but they now believe there were fewer than 50.

“Some of those people have been transported to shore, however, a number believed to be on the island are currently unaccounted for.

“Of those transported to shore, at least one has been critically injured.

“Emergency services are working to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including rescue staff,” said New Zealand police.

Police believe there were no more than 50 people on the island when the volcano erupted.

“Both New Zealand and overseas tourists,” were believed to be on the island Deputy Police Commissioner John Tims told reporters.

Updated Dec. 9, 6:11 a.m.

READ MORE: U.S. economy creates 266,000 jobs in November

WATCH: Canada made ‘deal with the devil’ to get seat on UN, says former U.S. ambassador

Like and follow us on Facebook

Keep up with Alberta’s top stories Follow us on Twitter

The Milestone Hotel & Residences id felis ultricies dictum Curabitur suscipit