December 9, 2019 / 9:10 PM / a month ago

Australian PM says three locals feared dead after New Zealand eruption

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday three Australians are feared to be among the confirmed fatalities from the New Zealand volcanic eruption.

“We fear of the five deceased persons, up to three are Australians, but that is not yet confirmed,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Morrison said 11 Australians remained unaccounted for, and 13 others are in hospitals across New Zealand.

The volcano, off New Zealand’s North Island, erupted on Monday at about 2:11 p.m. (0111 GMT), spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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