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At Least Five Dead, ‘No Signs Of Life’ After Volcano Erupts

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At least five people are dead and many others missing after a volcano erupted on an island in New Zealand Monday.

The eruption occurred on White Island and released clouds of ash about 12,000 feet into the air according to the Washington Post. All of the missing are feared to be dead, police said. The numbers of those missing could be in the “double digits,” Deputy Commissioner John Tims said during a news conference.

WATCH:

“No signs of life have been seen at any point,” New Zealand Police said according to a statement. “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.”

Search efforts were halted overnight because experts decided that the island was not stable. The island is not inhabited but it is a popular tourist destination. Both New Zealand citizens and tourists were visiting at the time of the eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said according to WaPo.

Twenty-three people near or on the island at the time of the eruption were rescued and some suffered serious burns. Up to 50 people are believed to have been on the island when it erupted, BBC reported.

White Island volcano last erupted in 2016, but no one was hurt.

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