New Zealand volcano: Sixth person confirmed dead

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A sixth person has died after a volcanic eruption on New Zealand's White Island, police have said.

Around 30 people - including two British women - were hospitalised following the incident on Monday, many with serious burns.

Eight people are still missing and presumed dead.

Survivors described how tourists were forced to run into the sea to escape the clouds of thick black ash and scalding vapour.

Relatives of those thought to be caught up in the disaster have registered their loved ones' details on a missing persons list in an effort to ascertain their whereabouts.

Mark Rakos said he was growing increasingly concerned for the safety of his father Karl Rakos, 57, and stepmother Deb Rakos, 50, from Darlington in County Durham.

The volcano before the eruption

The 35-year-old said the pair were on a cruise around New Zealand, but he had not heard from them since Sunday, despite repeated attempts to make contact.

Conditions on the island remain too dangerous for rescue workers to attend, with a 50 per cent chance of another small eruption taking place.

There is reportedly no signs of life on the island, and the dead are thought to be buried beneath piles of ash.

Most of the 47 people on the island at the time of the eruption are believed to be from Australia.

Many were passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas.

White Island, also known by the Maori name Whakaari, is the tip of an undersea volcano 30 miles off the coast.

Scientists had noted an increase in volcanic activity in recent weeks, leading to questions as to why tourists were still being allowed on the island.

Read more

New Zealand volcano: Five people confirmed dead

Volcano erupts on Indonesia island hit by earthquake

talkRADIO: Listen live