A volcano erupted in New Zealand, leaving dozens dead and several missing.
Tourists were seen walking inside the rim of the White Island crater moments before the eruption.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed some of those caught up in the disaster were foreigners. “We know that there were a number of tourists on or around the island at the time, both New Zealanders and visitors from overseas.”
New Zealand police claimed that it was “too dangerous” to carry out volcanic rescues.
The White Island, also known as Whakaari, is one of the country’s most active volcanoes and about 70 percent of it is under water.
Despite that, the island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.
Around 10,000 people visit the volcano every year. It has erupted frequently over the last half-century, most recently in 2016.
In August of that year the New Zealand Defence Force airlifted a 2.4-tonne shipping container onto the island to serve as an emergency shelter in case of an eruption.
— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019