New Zealand authorities say conditions on White Island continue to prevent efforts to send search crews to recover the bodies of those killed in Monday's volcanic eruption.
Seismologists with New Zealand's GeoNet seismic monitoring agency said Wednesday there remains a 40-to-60 percent chance of another major eruption within the next 24 hours. Poisonous gas continues to vent out of the volcano's crater and the island is covered in acidic ash.
Six people are now confirmed dead, with nine people now reported missing and at least 31 injured. Health officials say at least 27 survivors suffered burns over more than 71 percent of their bodies; of that number, 22 are on airway support due to the severity of their burns. An extra 1.2 square centimeters of skin will be needed to provide grafts for the victims.
Authorities say about 47 people were touring the island at the time of the eruption, including 24 Australians, with the rest from the United States, Britain, Germany, China, Malaysia and New Zealand. Some of the victims were passengers from a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean.
Australia has sent at least one military aircraft to New Zealand to bring 10 victims back to Australia for treatment.
GeoNet raised the volcano's alert level last month to Level Two on the five-level scale that monitors its chances of eruption. Still pictures captured by a GeoNet camera installed along the volcano's crater showed a group of tourists walking on the crater floor moments before the eruption.
Source : VOA