The death toll as a result of a volcanic eruption in New Zealand has risen to thirteen, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The eruption of the country’s active volcano happened on Monday morning at Whakaari, also known as White Island.
The scenic island is a popular tourist destination. Dozens of tourists were visiting the island when the eruption occurred.
While expressing her condolences, Arden said five fatalities had been confirmed and eight others are missing. The tourists were citizens of the UK, the US, China, Australia, Malaysia and their New Zealand guides.
The police said overnight aerial reconnaissance flights found no signs of life. The missing people are reported to have been covered in ash.
The police have since launched a criminal investigation into the incident. The authorities are looking to establish the circumstances under which the tourists were allowed into the island despite early warnings about volcanic activities.