At least one person was left in a critical condition when New Zealand's White Island volcano erupted suddenly on Monday, leaving authorities scrambling to treat the injured and find those unaccounted for.
Police will assess whether a recovery mission to remove bodies from the island is possible Tuesday after saying that the risk of further eruptions made it to risky to land.
GNS Volcanologist Geoff Kilgour told RNZ that at least 12 people were on the island when it erupted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted "Australians have been caught up" in the "terrible tragedy".
He said the remaining 18 evacuees all have injuries "to some degree", most of which are understood to be burns.
New Zealand police confirmed one fatality from White Island volcano eruption and said the number likely to rise.
"Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation", the statement said.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years", said Ray Cas, a professor emeritus at Monash University, in comments published by the Australian Science Media Center.
What is the island volcano?
It's still not clear who was on White Island when it erupted - but passengers from a cruise ship visited the island Monday.
But the geological hazard monitoring website added "the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors".
Schade wrote on Twitter that the boat picked up a number of people, including one injured woman.
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