Tourists flee as volcano erupts in New Zealand

Five people are confirmed to have died in the eruption on New Zealand’s White Island, while at least one American is missing.
2:17 | 12/10/19

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Transcript for Tourists flee as volcano erupts in New Zealand
to the sudden and deadly volcano erupting in New Zealand. Americans feared to be among the missing tonight. The volcano sending ash soaring 12,000 feet into the air with no warning, as tourists from all over the world were standing along its rim and climbing up its sides. This video tonight from a boat that had left just minutes before the blast. At least five people killed and many still missing. Here's ABC's James Longman tonight. Reporter: Tonight, a terrifying escape for tourists fleeing this massive volcanic eruption that came close to killing them. We got to get out of here! Reporter: Watch the cloud burst across the water towards their speeding boat. Tour guides begging tourists to get to safety. Go inside, go inside! Go inside! Reporter: The sudden eruption hit just after 2:00 P.M. On New Zealand's white island, volcanic ash spewing 12,000 feet into the air. 47 people were on the island when the volcano erupted. Some coming from a royal caribbean cruise ship. Look at this group of people inside the crater. This image taken minutes before the explosion. New Zealand officials saying at least five are confirmed dead, more than 30 were rescued, some severely burned. Several Americans among the missing. It is now clear that there were two groups on the island. Those who were able to be evacuated and those who were close to the eruption. Reporter: Tourist Michael Schade shooting this video. He'd just left the island with his family 20 minutes earlier. Capturing these images of a group huddled on a pier, desperate for safety. A wrecked helicopter visible in the ash behind them. The whereabouts of its passengers, unknown. We do not believe anybody else has survived that explosion. Our foreign correspondent James Longman with us live tonight. And James, you've learned that scientists had warned of increased activity at this volcano just two weeks ago? Reporter: Yeah, David. Scientists reported an increase in gases and small volcanic tremors and it's long been known as an unpredictable volcano, so, big questions tonight over why tourists are still allowed to climb it. A second eruption is possible, which may mean if there are bodies on the island, it may be very difficult to retrieve them. David? James Longman on this for us again tonight. James, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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