Hours after the White Island volcano eruption (White Island) - which tourists accept to visit in New Zealand - the New Zealand police announced that there was no longer any trace of life on the island.
The police confirmed the killing of at least five people, and said that more than 24 people were missing.
And press reports indicated that fifty people from several countries were on the island at the time of the volcano eruption, and the police said that they had rescued 23 of them, adding that others remained on the island after that.
"After the volcano eruption Monday afternoon local time," after the helicopters and other planes carried out several reconnaissance flights over the island, "there were no traces of life detected anywhere," police said in a statement.
"The police believe that everyone who could have been recovered alive was already rescued at the time of the eruption," it added, adding that it was "working urgently to confirm the number of those who died."
|Satellite image of the "White Island" volcano (European)|
And White Island - also called "Wakari" - is the most active volcano in New Zealand, but it is nonetheless a popular destination for tourists who visit on daily tours or watch from the sky on plane tours, a privately owned island.
At the crater
An American tourist named Michael Shade posted a bunch of tweets and video clips on Twitter, showing his presence at the crater minutes before his revolution.
In one of the videos posted by Shad as he leaves quickly on a boat to get away from the island, a huge column of white ash rises up in the sky as a group of panicked tourists gather at the beach waiting to leave.
"It is hard to believe," Shaid said in a tweet. "Our tourist group stood on the edge of the main crater less than thirty minutes before the eruption."
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt- Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Another witness - a Brazilian named Alessandro Kaufman in a post on the Instagram platform - said that he left with his group by boat five minutes before the volcano.
"There was another group that arrived immediately after us. Unfortunately, they were unable to leave in time, and some were seriously burned."
A camera connected to the Internet at the White Island volcano shows that at least one group of tourists was inside the crater minutes before the eruption and covered the area with a huge cloud of ash.
Volcanologists said that the ash plume from the volcano rose 12 thousand feet (3,658 meters) in the air.
The camera installed on the edge of the nozzle, which is operated by the "Gyont" agency to monitor geological hazards, shows a group of people walking near the edge inside the nozzle that was producing continuous white smoke at low intensity during the hour before the eruption at 2:11 pm local time ( 1:11 after midnight GMT).
This camera, along with three other cameras installed at various vital points, takes pictures of the volcano and sends them over the Internet every ten minutes.
One minute before the revolution
At two o'clock in the afternoon, the camera attached to the edge of the crater took a picture of a group of people on the edge, and their size seemed very small compared to the massive volcano.
In the second ten minutes, one minute before the volcano eruption, the group moved away from the edge and followed another path. It was not clear if the group that appeared to be composed of 12 people left the place, because it had received a warning that one had to flee, or simply was continuing its tour without realizing the imminent danger.
|Tourists flee the island after the (European) volcano eruption|
Did anyone warn them before the disaster?
"White Island has been a disaster for years," Ray Cass, an honorary professor at Monash University, said in comments published by the Australian Science Information Center. "I visited it twice and always felt it was very dangerous to allow one-day tourist groups to visit the uninhabited island, by boat or helicopter," he added.
On December 3, the Geonet Agency for Monitoring Geological Hazards warned that "the volcano may have entered a period in which volcanic activity has become more likely than usual," but added that the current level does not pose a direct threat to visitors.
On the other hand, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference after the eruption, "I know there is a great deal of fear and concern for their relatives on the island or in the surrounding area at the time. I can assure them that the police are doing everything they can." ".