CBC news reports that six deaths (pictured above) were confirmed after Monday's eruption of the White Island volcano. Five people died at the time of the blast or soon after, while a sixth person died Tuesday night at an Auckland hospital.
Another eight people are believed to have died, with their bodies remaining on the ash-covered island for now.
About 30 of the survivors remained hospitalized on Tuesday, many flown to burn units around the country. The first confirmed death was of a local man, Hayden Marshall-Inman, a guide who had shown tourists around the island.
Many people were left questioning why tourists were still allowed to visit the island after seismic monitoring experts raised the volcano's alert level last month.
"These questions must be asked and they must be answered," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in Parliament.
New Zealand deputy police commissioner John Tims said Tuesday that police were opening a criminal investigation that would accompany an investigation by health and safety regulators.
But hours later, police put out a statement saying while they were investigating the deaths on behalf of the coroner, "To correct an earlier statement, it is too early to confirm whether there will also be a criminal investigation."
Police said that of the people on the island, there were:
24 from Australia.
2 from China.
4 from Germany.
1 from Malaysia.
5 from New Zealand.
2 from the U.K.
9 from the U.S.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 11 Australians were unaccounted for and 13 were hospitalized. Three Australians were suspected to be among the initial five confirmed dead, he told reporters in Sydney. "I fear there is worse news to come."
White Island, also known by the Indigenous Maori name Whakaari, is the tip of an undersea volcano off New Zealand's main North Island.
At least 10 people were killed on the island in 1914 when it was being mined for sulfur. Part of a crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the miners' village and the mine itself.
The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and more than 10,000 people visit on daily tours every year.
It's uncertain if the island will ever host tourists again.
Edited and shortened from a report by CBC news - Image source Akahi News