OnDecember 9th, New Zealand was struck by a vicious natural disaster: a volcanic eruption. The eruption took place on Monday afternoon local time while tourists and tour guides were still touring the volcano, including many visitors from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas.
By Tuesday evening (local time), authorities had confirmed that another victim died at a nearby hospital, which brings the death toll to six. That number is likely to rise in the coming days, with eight people “missing and presumed deceased” and more than two dozen others from several countries having suffered “very severe injuries.”
Shocking footage from tourists on nearby boats, posted on social media, showed giant plumes of thick black smoke rising from the site.
“The scale of this tragedy is devastating,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern commented on Tuesday. She said that “police and military personnel have been spearheading the search-and-rescue operations, which have been impeded by continuing volcanic activity on the island.”
“However, no signs of life have been detected in the aftermath of the eruption.”
“We know, too, there will be bigger questions in relation to this event,” the prime minister added. “These questions must be asked, and they must be answered.”
Attached is a video of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern commenting on the current status of the victims.