Death Toll may Increase after White Island Volcano in New Zealand Erupts

After the White Island volcano eruption, 25 people are fighting for their lives. 6 have been confirmed dead whereas 8 are missing. However, there’s fear that the volcano could erupt again in 24 hours.

The island visitors and their tour guides were on the popular island and touring New Zealand’s most active volcano when it suddenly erupted without a warning.

Chairman of White Island Tours, Paul Quinn, claims there was no indication of this happening.

The Volcano Is still Dangerous for Search & Rescue

New Zealand authorities are collecting more info on the missing and dead, as well as on people who’re in a critical condition and receiving treatment.

According to police authorities, the island continues being dangerous for search and rescue. They said that the people who may still be on the island couldn’t have survived the disaster.

According to government agency GeoNet, the volcano has 50 percent chance of blowing up within a 24-hour period.

The deceased victims will go through identification process so the authorities can’t yet reveal their identities.

However, one of them has been identified as Hayen Marshall-Inman, White Island Tours guide who lost his life during the eruption.

Active Volcano, yet a Popular Tourist Location?

Despite being an active volcano, the White Island remains a popular attraction for daredevils who don’t find it hard to wear gas masks and hard hats to see this majestic volcano from up close.

On a yearly basis, approximately 10000 people pass on this area. In the last 50 years however, the volcano eruptions have become more common and the most recent one was in 2016.

According to footage from webcam which is operated by GeoNet and located on the island, a group of individuals caught up inside the crater of the volcano, moments before the eruption, could be seen.

However, it remains unclear if these people were among the killed or injured. On the image, one could also see a path leading to the crater’s rim and a group of people walking along it.

The camera collects images of Whakaari every 10 minutes and goes live on its website.

For now, the broadcast has been cancelled and the footage has been removed from the website while rescue operations are happening.

Who Is on the Search & Rescue Team?

The Police and Fire & Emergency teams of New Zealand were working together to determine the conditions on the island and gas levels in the atmosphere.

They were also talking with GNS Science experts to focus on the needs of the first responders that will go on the island, as well as the care and transport of victims.

Police officials claim that this recovery needs to be handled properly, by experts, and with utmost care.

Unfortunately, the windy conditions yesterday prevented the launch of drones for surveillance; but as soon as the conditions are right, they’ll be deployed.

People Are Grieving

According to PM Jacinda Ardern and deputy police commissioner, John Tims, there’s a huge amount of anxiety among people who had loved ones on the island at the time of the eruption.

Even though they don’t have full clarity, they will adhere from speculation.

Michael Schade, a tourist visiting the island at the time of the eruption, wrote on his Twitter that he was close to the main crater around half an hour prior to the incident.

The boat ride home was shocking as the injured tourists were being helped and massive ash was all around.

He added that his thoughts are with the families of the unaccounted for and those recovering, as well as with the rescue workers.