Key Points:

  • Five confirmed dead, eight missing, 31 in hospital after White Island volcano erupts twice
  • There were 47 people in total on the island, 38 of them were from the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas
  • Thirty-four injured people and five bodies were taken off the island by heroic rescuers in the face of extreme danger, says PM
  • Police say there are no further signs of life on the island, following flyovers late on Monday
  • Many of the victims are tourists from Australia, the UK, China, Malaysia and the US

Relatives of an Australian family of four that has been listed as missing after yesterday's deadly eruption are still hopeful their loved ones are safe, despite having no contact with them since they travelled to Whakaari/White Island.

North Sydney couple Anthony and Kristine Langford and their children Jesse, 19, and Winona, 17, were visiting the island as part of a cruise ship tour, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Anthony and Kristine Langford of Sydney are unaccounted for. Photo / Facebook
Anthony and Kristine Langford of Sydney are unaccounted for. Photo / Facebook
Jesse and Winona Langford are also missing after the eruption. Photo / Facebook
Jesse and Winona Langford are also missing after the eruption. Photo / Facebook

Langford's brother Rodney told 7 News they were hopeful that all four family members were in hospital or sheltering on the island.

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"We know they went on a cruise on White Island and they're missing. I'm hoping somebody knows anything," he said.

Mr Langford's brother and another relative speaking to 7 News today.
Mr Langford's brother and another relative speaking to 7 News today.

Another family member told the Herald they would fly to New Zealand tomorrow morning. They believed the four had been on the island, and hadn't heard from them since.

"I was told they were on the island, but I'm hoping not," the relative said.

Meanwhile, a young Australian couple that were believed missing have been confirmed as safe.

Mathew Thomas and Amy Miall have been confirmed as safe. Photo / Facebook
Mathew Thomas and Amy Miall have been confirmed as safe. Photo / Facebook

Amy Miall's father announced on social media today that his daughter and her partner Mathew Thomas were safe.

"We have been in touch with the embassy and the cruise line and she is NOT missing and was not on the island when it erupted," he wrote.

"We assume she along with 4000 others on the cruise are trying to contact relatives and our thoughts are with the missing and their families."

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Recovery

Police announced this afternoon that work is continuing today to enable the recovery of the eight people who remain unaccounted for on Whakaari/White Island following yesterday's eruption.

Two senior medical clinicians spent about half an hour on Whakaari/White Island yesterday afternoon before concluding there was no one left who could be rescued.

Intensive care paramedic Rusty Clark was on board the Westpac 2 rescue helicopter from Auckland, which was sent out at 2.45pm yesterday.

Two members of that crew left the helicopter to explore the island.

"They ... spent some time in a safe area, they tried to do an assessment and see if they could find anybody else," Clark said.

"If there were any people that we could bring off then we would formulate a plan, we were in direct comms with them. We basically stayed in the parameters of the island within a safe distance, and we could then go and extract them if we needed to."

The pair were on the island for between 30 and 40 minutes, he estimated, but by the end of that time it was clear that "everybody that could come off was already off the island".