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New Zealand police open criminal probe into volcano deaths

Whakaari or White Island - An active andesite stratovolcano, situated 48 km from the east coast...
Whakaari or White Island - An active andesite stratovolcano, situated 48 km from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand | Photo: Nine News Australia / YouTube(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 9, 2019 at 11:30 PM CST
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New Zealand police are opening a criminal investigation into the deaths of tourists on a volcanic island where a powerful eruption of ash and scalding steam occurred as dozens of people were exploring the barren landscape.

Five deaths are confirmed and eight other people are feared dead, but unstable conditions on White Island were preventing a direct search for them. Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims did not go into details of the criminal investigation but said it would sit alongside an investigation by health and safety regulators. The announcement indicates authorities are concerned safety standards may have been breached.

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