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Volcano expert says tourists should have been kept away from White Island

3AW BREAKFAST

A leading professor says recent warnings should have halted tourism to White Island.

It’s believed 47 people were on the privately-operated land mass off New Zealand’s north island when the volcano erupted.

Five people have been confirmed dead, with Scott Morrison saying “up to three” of those are Australians, with another 11 unaccounted for.

The volcano’s potential eruption scale was increased to a 2 out of 5 in recent days.

3AW Breakfast host, Kate Stevenson: Should that have been enough to keep tourism operators and tourists away?

“In my opinion yes, given the overall context of the volcano,” said Emeritus Professor Ray Cas, from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment.

“The alert level was lifted about two weeks ago, and that in itself should be an indication that it is possible and perhaps even probable that an eruptive event of various magnitude could happen.

“It’s a fascinating experience for anyone who goes there, but it has its dangers.

“It’s completely uninhabited, it has no emergency services.

“Where the tourists go is a completely enclosed, amphitheatre-like crater, so if something does happen there’s nowhere to escape.

“I’ve been concerned ever since I’ve been there that they do allow … the general public into what I consider to be a dangerous environment.”

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(Photo by Phil Yeo/Getty Images)

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