Ruapehu Update 002
Ruapehu Volcano, New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CNN) -- The eruption of Mount Ruapehu is a
"hazardous eruption," according to New Zealand scientists, who upgrade a
civil defense alert Monday..
"A substantial eruption involving new magma is under way at Ruapehu," said
a statement from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences in
Wellington. The institute upgraded the eruption, which began Saturday, to
a level four civil defense alert. The maximum alert level is five.
The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority has closed airspace up to 25,000
feet over the area.
Skiers and hikers were frightened Saturday when Mount Ruapehu shot ash,
rocks and steam into the air and sent three mud flows pouring down the
9,000-foot resort mountain.
There are no reports of anyone hurt or missing but skiers were evacuated
and seven hikers were rescued. The volcano on New Zealand's northern
island last erupted in 1988. The most serious eruption, in 1953, destroyed
a railroad bridge just before the arrival of a Wellington-Auckland express
train. More than 150 people died when the train plunged into a river.