At least five people were killed, up to 20 injured and several were reported missing after a volcano suddenly erupted off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island on Monday, spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said about 100 tourists were on or near White Island when it erupted in the afternoon.
"Some of those, at this stage, are unaccounted for,” she said. '"A number of people are reportedly injured and are being transported to shore."
She said the incident appeared to be "very significant.”
"It is very much an evolving situation and of course all our thoughts are with those affected," she said. Ardern said there were no confirmed fatalities.
St. John medical responders said in a statement they believed there were 20 people on the island who were injured and in need of medical treatment. It said it had dispatched seven helicopters to the island with paramedics aboard.
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