New Zealand volcano: Two British women injured after eruption

  • Published
Media caption,

Tourists could be seen waiting to be evacuated from White Island

Two British women are injured after the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand which left five people dead and eight others missing.

The two women are being treated in hospital, the UK high commission in New Zealand said.

The commission did not name the women but said it was offering support to their families.

Thirty-four people survived the eruption, with 31 still in hospital, including the two Britons.

White Island erupted in plumes of smoke and ash on Monday as tourists were exploring the popular destination.

Also among those listed as missing or injured following the incident were Australian, US, Chinese, Malaysian and New Zealand citizens.

Some 47 people were on the island when the disaster happened at around 14:11 (01:11 GMT) on Monday.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Despite being an active volcano, White Island is a tourist destination

In a news conference, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she shared the "unfathomable grief" of those who had lost family and friends.

Emergency services have so far been unable to search the area due to dangerous conditions.

Police said rescuers will return to the island when it is safe to do so, but aerial footage has shown "no signs of life".

White Island, also called Whakaari, is the country's most active volcano. Despite that, the privately owned island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.