Tue, 28 Jan 2020

Wellington [New Zealand], Dec 10 (Sputnik/ANI): New Zealand police will start a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of five people who perished following a volcano eruption on White Island, Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said on Tuesday.

Forty-seven tourists were on the island when the volcano started spewing steam and ash on Monday. It was earlier reported that rescuers had evacuated 34 people. Police have confirmed that five people have died and eight more were still missing, but fear that all 13 are dead since rescuers have been unable to detect any sign of life.

"I can confirm now that we will commence a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the death and injuries on White Island," Tims said at a press conference aired on New Zealand Police's Facebook page.

He stated that among the 47 people who were on the island, there were two from the United Kingdom, two from China, four from Germany, five from New Zealand, nine from the US, 24 from Australia and one person from Malaysia.

According to Health Ministry Spokesman Pete Watson, 27 out of the 31 survivors suffered severe burns, including in the respiratory tract. (Sputnik/ANI)

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