New Zealand volcano: PM Ardern says questions must be 'asked and answered'
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there are questions which "must be asked" after the volcanic eruption on White Island.
Five people are dead and eight are missing on the island - though police say they are also likely to have died. Officers earlier announced that a criminal investigation would be opened, but later revised this, saying it was "too early" to say.
Some 47 people from around the world were on the island during the eruption.
Follow live updates as details emerge of the victims
"We know there will be bigger questions in relation to this event," Ms Ardern said. "These questions must be asked and they must be answered."
Three weeks ago, the threat level at the volcano had been raised from one to two (out of five), describing the situation as "moderate to heightened volcanic unrest".
Since the eruption, experts are arguing whether the tours to the island were a disaster waiting to happen or still safe enough for visitors.
Yet while geological hazard monitoring group GeoNet last week warned White Island "may be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than normal", it also said "the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors".
There were still vapours above White Island on Tuesday morning
Currently, the alert level is at three, indicating a "minor volcanic eruption".
Thirty-four people were rescued, and most of them are still receiving treatment in hospital. Doctors said some of their burns are so severe they may not survive.
The privately-owned volcano that is always active
The tourist attraction remains too dangerous to access, but reconnaissance flights conducted earlier on Tuesday saw no survivors.
Ms Ardern said there were no signs of life on the island and that the focus was now "on recovery".
"To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief in this moment at time and in your sorrow," she said.
Who was on the island?
They were 24 visitors from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one person from Malaysia.
The first victim to be identified was tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, a local of nearby town Whakatane, who according to New Zealand media has been named by his brother on Facebook.
The second person confirmed to have died is from Malaysia, the country's High Commission said.
Another tour guide from New Zealand, 23-year old Tipene Maangi, is among the missing - with his family telling media he was called in on his day off.
Officials said people that have burns to more than 30% of their bodies were in hospital receiving care. Several others are also suffering from inhalation burns.
Two British women were among those receiving treatment, said the UK High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he "feared" three of the five confirmed dead were Australian.
Mr Morrison said that 24 Australians were on board a cruise ship exploring the island in the Bay of Plenty when the volcano erupted. Of those, 13 were in hospital and 11 were unaccounted for, he said.
"This is a terrible tragedy, a time of great innocence and joy interrupted by the horror of that eruption," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
Ms Ardern acknowledged the apparently high number of Australian victims.
"Can I say to our Australian family, there are no two countries closer and we are devastated at what has happened," she said.
A web page has been set up by the New Zealand Red Cross for families to register missing loved ones.
What happened at the volcano?
White Island, also called Whakaari, is the country's most active volcano. Despite that, the privately owned island is a tourist destination with frequent day tours and scenic flights available.
A live feed from the volcano showed several visitors inside the crater before the stream went dark.
According to Ms Ardern, there were two groups on the island at the time, "those who were able to be evacuated and those who were close to the eruption".
A group of visitors (circled) could be seen inside the crater before images went dark
Some survivors were rescued by boat in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, but police said it was too dangerous to mount a rescue operation.
But later private helicopter rescue missions picked up several people from the island.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Ardern paid tribute to helicopter crews who had flown to the island on Monday to bring people out despite the dangers.
"I want to acknowledge the courageous decision made by first responders and those pilots who in their immediate rescue efforts made an incredibly brave decision under extraordinarily dangerous circumstances in an attempt to get people out," she said.
Since then, emergency services have been unable to search the area because of dangerous conditions, with plumes of vapours and ash continuing to rise above the volcano the day after it erupted.
Authorities on Tuesday said there was a 50% chance of a second eruption of the same size or smaller in the next 24 hours but that it was unlikely there'd be a bigger eruption that would affect the mainland.
During his visit from 21 to 23 January, the OSCE Special Representative for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting will hold talks with high-level Moldovan officials and the political leadership in Tiraspol.( ) Read all
The past few days have been witness, to some important statements made in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Program for Action (JCPOA) — also referred to as the Iran Nuclear deal. US allies, including the UK and some EU member states do not seem to be in agreement with the US...( ) Read all
When Russians woke up on Wednesday morning, most had likely never heard of Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the country’s tax service. But by the time they went to bed that night, Mishustin had been named as Russia’s new prime minister after a day that included a flurry of...( ) Read all
Washington (CNN)Days after President Donald Trump claimed the US killed Iran's top military general because he was targeting four American embassies, two of the President's top national security officials are declining to provide evidence of the intelligence used to justify the US drone...( ) Read all
The Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war has strengthened the anti-Russian ideological wave of the al-Qaeda-aligned Central Asian and North Caucasian Salafi-Jihadi groups fighting alongside the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) against the Bashar al-Assad regime. After the...( ) Read all
The effects of globalisation are radically challenging our perception of the world. In order to respond effectively to current challenges, we must change our mindset, open up to the world, consider those around us and create a new global governance (Brown 2019; Foucher 2019).( ) Read all
Pro-Kremlin media have recently started to express sympathy for Fascism. This is not entirely new: The Web Site News Front, based in illegally annexed Crimea, has been praising Hitler and Nazism; pro-Kremlin Russia Insider is not only attempting to whitewash Nazism, but...( ) Read all
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) reached a ceasefire upon Turkey and Russia’s initiative. During a joint press conference with Russian...( ) Read all
Rio judge’s ruling follows complaint that the ‘honour of millions of Catholics’ was hurt by The First Temptation of Christ. The First Temptation of Christ depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and implies he is gay. Photograph: Netflix Brazil/AFP via...( ) Read all
Strasbourg court declares Russia guilty of violating human rights in the breakaway Moldovan region that it de facto controls, over the case of a young man accused of treason and jailed for espionage in 2011.( ) Read all
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to travel to Moscow Saturday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting will likely focus on the Iran crisis, with both Germany and Russia calling for de-escalation following the U.S. targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and...( ) Read all
Amidst an environment of a tense standoff between Iran and the US since the last couple of months, the United States assassinated high-ranking Iranian military and intelligence official Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport on Friday morning along with several...( ) Read all
Ukrainian passenger jet probably crashed after being hit by a Russian-made Tor-M1 missile over Parand and crashed in the town of Khalaj Abad. Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752, en route from Tehran to Kyiv, with 176 people on board has crashed in Iran just minutes after take-off...( ) Read all
Senior administration officials have begun drafting sanctions against Iraq after President Trump publicly threatened the country with economic penalties if it proceeded to expel U.S. troops, according to three people briefed on the planning.( ) Read all
An explosive leak of tens of thousands of documents from the defunct data firm Cambridge Analytica is set to expose the inner workings of the company that collapsed after the Observer revealed it had misappropriated 87 million Facebook profiles.( ) Read all
Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real “paleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes.( ) Read all
A thaw is coming early this Russian winter. Inbound retail and technology investments are hints of improvement in the business climate, and fresh sanctions fears have eased off. But these bright spots won’t save the G20 country from economic stagnation in 2020.( ) Read all
Russia and the United States have had another year of rocky relations that have included more sanctions, heavy rhetoric, and a shortage of constructive dialogue to bring the two countries together. 2020 will likely be a mixed bag of steps forward and stagnation that closely resembles the past...( ) Read all
Over the recent years, one can find very few ideas that have had a sudden resurgence in the world as populism. Charismatic leaders, upstart political parties and attractive propaganda have upset the world order to win power in what previously appeared to be stable democracies.( ) Read all
Chloe Haines also scratched a crew member who tried to stop her opening the door mid-flight. A woman has admitted trying to open an aeroplane door mid-flight prompting two fighter jets to be scrambled. Chloe Haines, 26, of High Wycombe, also scratched a crew member who tried to stop her...( ) Read all