Up to 20 injured as NZ volcano on Whakaari Island erupts

Cheryl Sanders
December 9, 2019

Tourists were seen walking inside the rim of the White Island crater just moments before the eruption.

The Bay of Plenty volcano is New Zealand's most active and on Monday afternoon it erupted.

"A number of people are injured and being transported to shore", she said.

The eruption made the area immediately around the island hazardous, the National Emergency Management Agency said in an emailed statement. The scale runs from zero to five - a major eruption.

The eruption began about 2:30 p.m. local time on the island, about 50 kilometres from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, throwing smoke and debris into the air. She did not have further details. A spokesperson said a mobile triage unit was on its way to the island.

There will be a joint press conference at 5.30pm with Civil Defence and police. The news outlet Stuff reported that footage taken from the volcano's crater camera appeared to show people there minutes before it erupted. It's possible some global flights may ensure they go further around this area but for now WeatherWatch.co.nz doesn't expect any major issues with flight plans in the NZ area as typically White Island isn't under most flight paths.

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