A British couple who were reported missing following the Whakaari/White Island eruption have made contact with family, according to the Guardian.

Karl Rakos, 57, and Deborah Rakos, 50, from Darlington, County Durham, were listed on the Red Cross family links website as being missing.

However Karl's mother Jean Rakos has told the Guardian on Tuesday evening (UK time) the couple had since been in touch. They were on a cruise ship headed for Australia.

Mark Rakos, 35, said earlier he had been unable to contact his father or stepmother - who were on a cruise around New Zealand - since Sunday, and was worried for their safety.

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The UK High Commissioner in New Zealand has confirmed there are two British women among the wounded in hospital, but has not identified them.

"The last time I spoke to my dad he was in Dunedin, that was a WhatsApp message on Sunday, but I've not heard from him since," Mark told the Daily Mail.

"They've been on the cruise for about a week, it was going around New Zealand then on to Australia.

Karl Rakos, 56, and wife Debroah, 52, from Darlington in County Durham, were on a cruise around New Zealand when a volcano erupted on Monday, and have not been heard from since. Photo / Facebook
Karl Rakos, 56, and wife Debroah, 52, from Darlington in County Durham, were on a cruise around New Zealand when a volcano erupted on Monday, and have not been heard from since. Photo / Facebook

"They were going to Sydney and then back home on December 18.

"I've been asking my grandmother (if she has heard from the couple) because he's not been in touch and I'm starting to scare myself.

"I'm a bit shaken by this.

White Island shortly after the eruption . Photo / White Island Flights
White Island shortly after the eruption . Photo / White Island Flights

"People have said it would take two days for the cruise ship to get up to the volcano area, so that's what I'm hoping for, but I don't know what his plans were.

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"I would have thought surely the cruise ship has WiFi. I thought he would have been able to answer by now."

Six people have been confirmed dead in the eruption - five who died shortly after being evacuated on Monday and a sixth who died in hospital late Tuesday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said at least three of the dead are Australian, while Malaysia has confirmed one of its citizens also died.

Hayden Marshall-Inman, a tour guide from New Zealand, has also been confirmed dead, with family paying tribute online.

Eight more are missing, presumed dead, with police saying they have located what they believe are the remains of six people still on the island.

However, they have warned that nobody has yet been able to get on to the island due to the risk of toxic gasses and further eruptions, and that recovering the bodies may take some time.

Thirty people are currently being treated in hospital, some with burns on 90 per cent of their bodies, while others suffered inhalation burns to their lungs.

Tourists rescued from White Island following the volcanic eruption. Photo / Michael Schade
Tourists rescued from White Island following the volcanic eruption. Photo / Michael Schade

Medics have warned that not all of those in hospital are likely to survive.

Police have confirmed there were 47 people on the island at the time of the eruption, among them: 24 from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from the UK, two from China and one from Malaysia.

News of the victims began emerging as police announced a probe 'into the circumstances of the deaths and injuries' on behalf of the coroner, but backtracked on an earlier announcement of a criminal investigation.

It is not clear why police backtracked on the criminal probe. Experts had earlier warned that tours of White Island, which is the tip of New Zealand's most active cone volcano, was a 'disaster waiting to happen'.

A health and safety investigation has also been launched.