A volcano has erupted in New Zealand, spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air, killing at least one person while dozens of others remain missing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said tourists were among several people unaccounted for as emergency services mounted a rescue operation.

As many as 100 people were in the vicinity when the eruption began at about 2:11 pm (01:11 GMT) on White Island, about 50km (30 miles) from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, sending up smoke visible from the mainland.

The island’s immediate surroundings were hazardous because of the eruption, the National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement, adding that falling ash might affect some areas on the mainland.

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