Five people have been confirmed dead after the volcano on New Zealand’s White Island (Whakaari) erupted, at 2.11pm on Monday, and up to two dozen people remain unaccounted for as unstable conditions, toxic gases and ash fall prevent rescue
teams from searching the island. Twenty-three people have been rescued, and all of those rescued had sustained injuries, mostly burns, police said, and seven people who were in a critical condition had been flown to hospitals in Tauranga and Auckland
. Based on the fatalities and conditions on the island, the death toll will probably climb.
A tour party of 30 to 38 people, from the Ovation of the Seas, was touring White Island (8km off the coast of the Bay of Plenty) when the eruption took place. About 10,000 people a year visit the volcano.