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At least five people are confirmed dead and up to two dozen are missing after a volcano on a New Zealand island popular with tourists erupted Dec. 9,according to reports.
White Island is about 30 miles off the east coast of North Island andcalls itselfNew Zealand’s “most active volcano.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Reuters that tourists were among the several people unaccounted for. “A number” of tourists involve include passengers on aRoyal Caribbean cruise ship, which is docked in a town about 50 miles away, according to authorities.
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Rescuers are reportedly mounting an effort to find travelers and White Island’sown websitesays that the island is “experiencing an emergency.” “An active police search and response is underway,” Ardernsaidduring a news conference on Monday.
New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said in a news conference that the situation on the island was so unsafe that rescuers couldn’t return to the island. The island is currently a no-fly zone, Tims said.
“On the scheme of things for volcanic eruptions, it’s not large, but if you were close to that, it is not good,” Ken Gledhill from GNS Sciencesaid.
Air New Zealand, the country’s flag carrier, confirmed in a tweet that no flights had been affected.
Kia ora, no flights have been impacted. ^MJ
— Air New Zealand✈️ (@FlyAirNZ)December 9, 2019
Visiting an active volcanocomes with major risks. The Royal Geographical Society conducteda study on volcano tourism, noting that most tourists are not aware of the risks involved. Deaths have occurred around the world. Though regulations are in place, these vary depending on the municipality, and ultimately the planet is wildly unpredictable.
Be sure to observe the safety regulations and pay attention to any applicable safety procedures. Even if you’re one to occasionally stray from the marked trails, this is time to err on the side of caution.
Featured photo by Jose Azel/Getty Images.
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Victoria M. Walkercovers points and miles at TPG. She previously taught multimedia journalism at Howard University and was the breaking news video editor at The Washington Post.
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