A massive rescue operation is underway following an eruption on White Island in the Bay of Plenty at 2:11pm on Wednesday. Initially it was believed 100 people were on or around the island at the time, but police now say it was around 50. At least 20 have been injured, seven of them are believed to be critical. Police are due to hold a press conference. St John’s Director of Operations Norma Lane has confirmed to Checkpoint that some patients are critical and have burns. Carmen Tressider is the president of the Whakatane sportsfishing club – which is just down the road from where those injured have been brought ashore. She told Checkpoint reporter Nita Blake-Persen they’re being told of lots of serious injuries. NZ Civil Defence is warning that people living in or near the area have been warned to beware of ashfall, close all windows and doors and wear a dust mask or handkerchief. GNS says it appears ash fall is confined to the island at the moment, but there may be a small amount reaching East Cape in the coming hours.