Police in New Zealand say they will open a ‘criminal investiigation’ after several people were killed in a volcanic eruption on White Island, a popular tourist spot.
On Sunday, the Whakaari volcano, A.K.A. ‘White Island’ erupted. It is reported that there were 47 people on the island when the eruption happened. Local media reports at least 20 injuries and five fatalities.
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
On Monday morning, police issued a statement that aerial surveillance over the island overnight showed no signs of life.
John Tims of NZ police held a press conference Monday and was asked about tour operators to the island, saying, “So we’ll look into if there was anyone criminally responsible for the deaths and injuries. It’s early days yet. So we’re just going to have to work through the evidence, talk to people, and conduct the investigation.”
8 people still on the island are missing and believed dead. Many of the survivors being treated in hospitals have burns on up to 90% of their bodies and may not survive.