Coffs man believed to be in critical condition
ONE of three Coffs Coast locals, previously listed as missing after the White Island volcanic eruption, is believed to be in a critical condition in hospital.
A family member reached out to the Advocate just after noon to say Jason David Griffiths, 33, is in a critical condition in a New Zealand hospital.
Other family members are scrambling to get flights organised as soon as possible to be by his side.
The Advocate understands Jason was employed at Toormina Woolworths, with colleagues this afternoon alerting the community via Facebook that they are establishing a fund to: 'assist family members obtain emergency passports, cover airfare and accommodation' so they can be with him.
Fellow locals Richard Aaron Elzer, 32 and Karla Michelle Matthews, 32, are still listed as 'missing' on the New Zealand Red Cross Family Links website as of midday today, December 10.
There were 47 people on White Island when the volcano erupted.
Most of the 23 people rescued so far have suffered burns both externally and internally.
The volcano erupted in two massive explosions. It is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes and questions are emerging as to why tourists were allowed to go there.
At this stage New Zealand authorities have confirmed five people are deceased.
Briefing Australian media, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed 24 Australians were visiting the island "as part of a cruise ship tour."
Mr Morrison said 13 have been hospitalised and the remaining 11 are feared dead still unaccounted for by New Zealand authorities.
Many of the victims are tourists from Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Malaysia and the United States.
New Zealand police say there are no further signs of life on the island, following flyovers late on Monday.
It is still unclear when emergency services will be able to access the island and start recovering bodies, with police waiting for the all-clear before going in.
GNS Science, a New Zealand geological research organisation, today put out a statement warning there was a 50 per cent chance of a second eruption over the next 24 hours.