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Death toll rises in New Zealand volcano disaster

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 12/10/19, 10:40 am

A sixth victim of the White Island volcano eruption died overnight in an Auckland, New Zealand, hospital. Eight more people are believed dead, but rescuers have not been able to reach them. Forty-seven people, including nine Americans and 24 Australians, were on the island at the time of the catastrophe on Monday.

Why were tourists at the volcano? A geological monitoring agency had raised its alert level for the island from 0 to 2 on a scale of 5 in November, indicating moderate volcanic activity, Radio New Zealand reported. But the operators of a tour boat that had 42 people on the island at the time of the eruption said they don’t cancel tours until the alert level gets to 3. Shane Cronin, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said the type of steam-driven eruption that happened Monday can occur with little to no warning. The New Zealand government plans to investigate the decision to take tourists to White Island.

Dig deeper: Read The Guardian’s report on a commercial pilot who flew to the island against official warnings and rescued 12 people.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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