• New Zealand volcano erupts
  • Cruise passengers killed
  • Victims include guests from Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas

The volcanic eruption at New Zealand’s White Island on Monday killed several cruise ship passengers, injured several people and many are still missing.

Victims also included excursion teams from the Royal Caribbean ship “Ovation of the Seas.” According to reports, many tourists were close to the volcano’s crater when the incident occurred.

The latest news also said at least five people had been killed in the volcanic explosion and 31 people are in hospital and eight are missing.

The volcano last erupted nearly 20 years ago in 2001.

Whakaari is yet another name of the White Island volcano. The privately-owned island had been a thriving tourist destination with frequent day tours, notes the BBC News report.

The latest news is that at least 50 people were in its vicinity when the White Island volcano erupted. Among them, a good number of visitors were close to the volcano’s crater minutes before it exploded.

Most of the survivors including critically wounded people had been airlifted off White Island by helicopters. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stated that there were “no signs of life at any point” after an aircraft conducted an aerial survey.

Among the missing and injured travelers include citizens of Australia, China, the U.S, Britain, and Malaysia, per Canada’s CTV news.

The cruise law news report also noted that Royal Caribbean used to carry advertisements about the exciting “White Island Volcano Experience Cruise and Guided Exploration,” as a shore excursion for the New Zealand package.

The report notes that in the light of the volcanic incident, Cruise lines ought to be more alert and check the qualifications and safety record of tour operators handling shore excursions for guests under cruise deals.

Questions are being raised about why people were taken to White Island despite warnings by scientists about increasing volcanic activity.

According to 9 News report, cruise passengers in the Ovation of the Seas woke up to a “somber” morning on Tuesday.

Quoting Anna, a 33-year-old Australian passenger onboard the Ovation docked at Tauranga, the report said the atmosphere on the cruise liner was “somber.” 

“I have taken a walk through the main area and there's not a lot of life. A few people at guest services,” Anna said. 

The 9 News report also mentioned the first victim of the mishap as local tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman working with White Island Tours.