Death Toll in New Zealand Volcano Eruption Rises to 6, 8 More Remain Missing, Say Police
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the volcanic island -- also known as Whakaari -- off New Zealand's north coast had erupted while groups of tourists were visiting.
This aerial photo shows White Island after its volcanic eruption in New Zealand on December 9, 2019. (George Novak/New Zealand Herald via AP)
Sydney: The death toll from New Zealand's White Island volcano eruption rose to six late Tuesday after an injured person died in an Auckland hospital, police said. "Police can confirm a further person has died following the eruption on Whakaari/White Island, bringing the official toll to six," a police statement said.
Eight more people who remain missing are presumed dead after the volcano erupted Monday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said on Monday that the volcanic island -- also known as Whakaari -- off New Zealand's north coast had erupted while groups of tourists were visiting.
White Island sits about 50 kilometers (30 miles) offshore from mainland New Zealand.
White Island is northeast of the town of Tauranga on North Island, one of New Zealand's two main islands. 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.
GeoNet says it is New Zealand's most active cone volcano and about 70 per cent of the volcano is under the sea.
Twelve people were killed on the island in 1914 when it was being mined for sulphur. Part of a crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the miners' village and the mine itself.
The remains of buildings from another mining enterprise in the 1920s are now a tourist attraction, according to GeoNet. The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year.
The island is also known by the indigenous Maori name Whakaari.
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