White Island Volcano Erupts

Dec 10, 2019

White Island volcano — also known as Whakaari — located approximately 50 km (30 mi) off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island, erupted at approximately 1410 local time (0110 UTC) on 9 December 2019, spewing plumes of ash up to 3,700 m (4,000 yd) into the air. Authorities believe that approximately 50 tourists, including an unspecified number of foreign nationals, were on the island at the time of the eruption; more than 30 were passengers from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. A total of 23 people were evacuated from the island immediately following the volcanic eruption, including the five tourists who were killed and 18 others — including Australians — who suffered injuries and are receiving treatment at hospitals. Other missing individuals on the island are presumed to be killed. Authorities have established a no-fly zone for the area over White Island and emergency crews are prohibited from accessing the island. The volcano’s alert level is currently set to a Level 3 on a five-tier scale, which indicates the likelihood of a minor volcanic eruption, after briefly being raised to a Level 4. The Aviation Color Code is orange, which is the second-highest level of alert on a four-tier scale.

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