Authorities in New Zealand believe that there are no survivors after the volcanic eruption on the White Island.

The island, which is the country’s most active volcano, erupted just after 2pm local time (01.11 GMT).

Officials previously confirmed only five casualties in the blast, however the number will now rise to 50 to include all those who were still on the island during the eruption.

Police say there have been ‘no signs of life’ spotted at any point on the island since the eruption.

Head officers said it was too dangerous for emergency services to search the island for survivors as it is still regarded as unstable.

It’s feared about 50 people, locals and foreign tourists, were near the volcano, with several being spotted near the rim of the crater just minutes before it erupted.

Tourists regularly visit the island on day tours, and one group from the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner was there at the time. It’s believed most of the tourists caught in the blast were American.


It is reported that other tour operators removed guests from the island before it was declared unsafe. 23 people were rescued according to police, who confirmed others were still on the island at the time.

New Zealand police said in a statement:

The Police Eagle helicopter, rescue helicopter, and NZDF aircraft have undertaken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption.

No signs of life have been seen at any point.

Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation.

Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.

[We are] working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already.


Experts say they believed the island was at risk for some time before it was actually declared as dangerous.

As per the Australian Science Media Centre, Ray Cas, a professor emeritus at Monash University, said:

Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter.

This morning’s blast was the first deadly eruption on the White Island since 1914.