New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that a volcano has erupted in New Zealand with 100 people in the vicinity are unaccounted for.
Tourists were seen walking inside the rim of the White Island crater just moments before the eruption.
White Island is situated 48 km from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
The local mayor told New Zealand media she feared there had been injuries.
White Island, or Whakaari, is off the coast of North Island - and is one the country's most active volcanoes.
Despite that, the island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.
A live feed from the volcano showed a group of visitors inside the crater before images went dark after the eruption.
Arden says this is an evolving situation but at this stage they believe around 100 people were on or around the island at the time and some of those at this stage are unaccounted for.
She adds a number of people are reportedly injured and are being transported to shore.
The eruption began around 2.30pm, throwing a thick plume of white ash and smoke into the air.
The country's National Emergency Management Agency says a volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.
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