PHOTOS : New Zealand eruption: No survivors on White Island After Volcano Suddenly Erupts, says Police
There are no more survivors of the volcanic eruption on New Zealand‘s White Island, police believe.
Earlier, officials had said the blast had left five people dead, but that number will now rise to include those people who were still on the island when it erupted.
“No signs of life have been seen at any point,” police said.
Top officers had previously said it was too dangerous for emergency workers to search the unstable island for survivors.
About 50 people, New Zealanders as well as foreign tourists, were feared to have been nearby and several were seen near the rim of the crater minutes before the eruption.Many day tours visit the island regularly, and one from the Ovation of the Seas cruise liner was there at the time. Australian tourists were reportedly caught up in the blast.
Tour operators took some people off the island before it was declared unsafe. Twenty-three people were rescued, police said, adding that others were still on the island at the time.
In a statement, New Zealand police said: “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.”