Date:         Wed, 21 Sep 1994 08:26:04 MST
Reply-To: VOLCANO 
Sender: VOLCANO 
From: Graeme Wheller 
Subject:      Rabaul eruption update 5
To: Multiple recipients of list VOLCANO 

News of the Rabaul eruption is slipping off the front pages of Australian
newspapers this morning (Wednesday, UTC+10). "The Australian" has a small
article on page 3 highlighting the plight of an Australian man who is trapped
in his house about 1 km from one the vents (don't know which). His wife in
Australia last spoke to him at 0200 Tuesday morning before the telephone lines
cut out and he has not been heard of since.

"The Australian" (national distribution) reports that Rabaul is buried under
75 cm of ash and telephone lines to the area have been severed. It quotes a
rescue worker as saying "Vulcan is blowing its head off on the southern side
and Tavurvur is the same on the northern side." Unnamed volcanologists are
reported to have said that the two volcanoes had shown no signs of slowing
down but that some believe the emergence of five major vents may reduce the
levels of subterranean pressure.

The article also reports that the Australian Government is flying emergency
supplies to the more than 30,000 evacuees. Ships operating near Rabaul have
made "several dramatic rescue missions to pick up hundreds of stranded

"The Mercury" (Hobart, Tasmania) has a small column on page 1 that continues
on page 2. It also highlights the man trapped in his house and quotes family
members talking about their last phone call with him. His wife is reported
as saying he woke up at 0200 Monday morning to find the town deserted. The
article quotes a pilot returning from flying near Rabaul as saying the town
"no longer exists, and is just covered in metres of ash". It also says that
hundreds of people were reported to be trapped last night around Rabaul by
landslides and earthquakes. A helicopter pilot is reported as saying about
600 villagers had been caught under a huge cloud of burning ash. He said
"They were right under the ash cloud and it was so hot they were getting
burns. They paddled out to sea and clung to barrels to avoid the ash. They
were picked up by ship".

Graeme Wheller
Consultant Geologist
Volcanex International Pty Ltd
Phone/Fax: domestic (002) 298057 international +61 02 298057