December 9, 2019 / 8:40 AM / a month ago

New Zealand police says at least five dead in volcano eruption

An aerial view shows the crater rim of Whakaari, also known as White Island, shortly before the volcano erupted in New Zealand, December 9, 2019, in this image obtained via social media. GNS Science via REUTERS

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - At least five people have now been confirmed to have died after a volcano erupted off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, police confirmed on Monday.

New Zealand Deputy Commissioner John Tims said foreigners and New Zealand nationals were on White Island when the volcano erupted.

He said police are unsure of the exact number of people on island but due to risks emergency services cannot access the island at the moment.

Reporting by Byron Kaye and John Mair, writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Toby Chopra

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