Several people were injured White Island in New Zealand when a volcano began erupting there on Monday (Dec 9), the region’s mayor said. The eruption began about 2:30 p.m. local time (0130 GMT) on the island, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, throwing smoke and debris into the air.
“I’m not sure if these people were on the island or near it, but there was definitely one group out there and they definitely needed medical care,” said Whakatāne Mayor Judy Turner. “There were some injuries and focus is on getting these injured people back safely and to get them to a hospital.”
The eruption made the area immediately around the island hazardous, the National Emergency Management Agency said in an emailed statement. Police told international news agency that they were responding to the eruption but did not comment on whether anyone was injured. New Zealand’s national emergency crisis center has been activated.
Smoke from the eruption was visible from the mainland, and the emergency management agency said falling ash might affect some areas.
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