Volcano erupts in New Zealand; 5 dead, many still missing

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December 9, 2019 - 9:37 AM

An image provided by visitor Michael Schade shows White Island (Whakaari) volcano, as it erupts, in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. According to police, at least five people have died in the volcanic eruption at around 2:11 p.m. local time on Dec. 9. The island is located around 40km offshore of the Bay of Plenty.

WHAKATANE, New Zealand (AP) — A volcanic island in New Zealand erupted today in a tower of ash and steam while dozens of tourists were exploring the moon-like surface, killing five people and leaving many more missing.

Police said the site was still too dangerous hours later for rescuers to search for the missing.

Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the number of missing was in the double digits but he couldn’t confirm an exact number. He said there were fewer than 50 people on the island when it erupted and 23 had been taken off, including the five dead.

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