New Zealand police have confirmed the death of five people as a result of volcanic eruption on White Island.

Report informs citing the TASS that Deputy Commissioner John Tims said on Monday during a briefing on the operational situation after the emergency.

According to him, the work of rescuers is complicated, since the entire territory of the island is covered with a significant layer of ash. The headquarters are now consulting with experts to determine the earliest possible time to begin search operations on the island.

The eruption began on Monday around 14: 15 local time. The volcanic hazard level was raised to fourth (eruption hazard in the immediate vicinity of the volcano), and the aviation safety code was changed to orange.

White Island is New Zealand’s only active volcanic island. The previous eruption was recorded in late 2012-early 2013. The Isle of Wight is one of the most visited active volcanoes in the world and is open for tourist trips.