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Tourists Filmed Fleeing To Safety As New Zealand Volcano Erupts

Harrowing footage has captured the moment New Zealand's most active volcano erupted while tourists fled from White Island on Monday afternoon.

Terrified passengers are shown rushing away from the boat's windows as thick smoke rolls down the volcano and towards the boat, in the frantic video that was posted on Twitter on Monday.

In the video, a crew member can be heard shouting repeatedly for passengers to "go inside".

The video is one of several that captured the destructive scenes at the time of the eruption.

American tourist Michael Schade escaped 20 minutes before the volcano exploded and posted incredible footage of his narrow escape from the island.

In what the tourist called "indescribable" scenes, ash and debris are shown shooting out of the volcano as the island is blanketed by black smoke.

White Island Volcano Erupts In New Zealand

Schade filmed a number of people being rescued and helicopters on the island which were reportedly destroyed by the eruption.

"Those are some of the people put boat picked up. Praying for them and their recovery. Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end," he said.

"This is so hard to believe," Schade said. Image: Twitter

Brazilian tourist Aline Moura posted footage of her boat speeding away from the island as it was erupting.

"That was the end of today's trip that I recorded. The beginning was great, lots of cool photos, [an] amazing experience!,"Moura wrote on Instagram.

But nature is autonomous and man has no control over its will," she said.

So far five people have been confirmed dead and 18 people were reported injured by New Zealand authorities on Monday.

Twenty-three people have been rescued and those injured are reported to be suffering from serious burns.

Police said fewer than 50 people were believed to be on the island at the time.

An image at the scene of the eruption. Image: Twitter

Both New Zealand and overseas tourists are believed to be impacted by the tragic eruption.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Australians "have been caught up" in the event, which he described as "a terrible tragedy".

10 daily understands that 24 Australians have been impacted by the volcano when it erupted at 2.11pm (local time).

Police said the island is covered in ash and the situation is too volatile for emergency services to return.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," NZ authorities said.

"Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

Anyone concerned about loved ones can call DFAT's 24-hour consular emergency number on 1300 555 135 from within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas. New Zealand police say people from overseas can call +64 9105 105 to submit information regarding friends or family who might have been visiting White Island during the eruption. 

Contact Eden at egillespie@networkten.com.au