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.
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.
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.
This is so hard to believe. Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before. My thoughts with the families of those currently unaccounted for, the people recovering now, and especially the rescue workers… pic.twitter.com/mn704hobRk— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Updated Dec. 9, 6:11 a.m.
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