Envoy believes at least one Malaysian killed in NZ volcano eruption

Debra Chong
People on a boat react as smoke billows from the volcanic eruption of Whakaari, also known as White Island, New Zealand December 9, 2019. — Picture via Instagram/allessandrokauffmann/via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island yesterday has claimed at least one Malaysian victim.

Eight people are reported missing.

“This morning at 9.30am local time, the High Commission was informed by NZ authorities that at least one deceased is Malaysian.

“Further details are being obtained as the investigation progress,” it announced in a Facebook post.

The commission added that updates will be posted from time to time.

It urged anyone with information on any Malaysian in the area to contact it by tel: +64-43852439 / +64-210440188 (after hours) or email mwwellington@kln.gov.my.

It advised Malaysians travelling near the eruption area to exercise caution and follow directives and guidelines from the local authorities.

The New Zealand government confirmed today five fatalities and more than 30 injured in the eruption on the tourist attraction.

New Zealanders and tourists from Australia, the United States, Britain, China and Malaysia were among the missing and injured.

Reuters reported the island, located off the coast of New Zealand’s main northern island, to be inaccessible.

White Island is said to be the largest volcanic structure in New Zealand, with 70 per cent of it underwater.

The international wire agency reported survivors running into the sea to escape the eruption but sustained massive burns as many were lightly dressed in just T-shirts and shorts.

It added that cruise ship company Royal Caribbean confirming several passengers on its a 16-deck liner, Ovation of the Seas, had gone to the volcano island for a day trip without disclosing the number or any other further details.

New Zealand’s geoscience agency GNS Science has warned of a 50 per cent chance of a recurring eruption in the next 24 hours.

The active volcano is still spewing smoke, steam, ash and mud.

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