Updated 9 December 2019 14:53: the death toll for White Island eruption is unconfirmed however, rescue teams believe there are no survivors. According to BBC news, anyone who could have been rescued from the island was rescued at the time of the evacuation.
The latest update from New Zealand Police is: “based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.”
Friends and family will be able to submit information by using the Police 105 number or they can submit a form online at the Police website (subject to updates). If you are unable to make contact you can register friends or relatives through the family links website.
A volcano has erupted on White Island/Whakaari, New Zealand, claiming the lives of five people and injuring more. Fatalities are expected to rise with around 100 tourists on or near the island at the time of the eruption.
There are several tourists who are still unaccounted for as police and rescue services have been unable to travel to the island. According to medical responders, 20 people are believed to be in need of medical treatment with more casualties expected. Up to 38 of people on the island are said to have been passengers on a nearby cruise ship however, their nationalities are yet to be revealed.
Seven rescue helicopters were despatched to the island but sustained considerable damage due to the volcanic ash. The pilot and four passengers have since landed safely back on the island. Tourist boats are also being used to rescue those that have been stranded on the island after it had been declared too dangerous for the emergency services to travel to the volcano.
The volcano has been declared active by Australian geologist Professor Richard Arculus – speaking to the Express he stated the volcano has been “showing signs of unrest for the past few weeks.” An eruption occurred in 2016 but left no casualties.
Travel insurance will cover medical expenses as standard on your policy, so if you have been injured as a result of the eruption you should contact your travel insurer and seek medical attention.
If your holiday has been disrupted by the incident you may be covered under the force majeure section of your policy (this cover isn’t included as standard by most insurers so make sure you check your policy wording carefully). Check with your airline or tour operator if you are due to travel to New Zealand – as long as you took your policy out before the incident occurred you may be entitled to cover.