Panic on Mt Tongariro as volcano erupts
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Staff at Tamatea Intermediate School capture the first moments of the eruption
A teacher who was on Mt Tongariro with a group of 90 students has captured the ‘‘absolutely spectacular’’ eruption of the volcano on video.
GNS Science confirmed the eruption, at the Te Maari crater, happened shortly after 1.20pm. It is the second eruption on the mountain this year; an eruption on August 6 was the first on Tongariro for more than 100 years.
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Tamatea Intermediate teacher Lomi Schaumkel said they were near the Katetahi hot springs when eruption began.‘‘We were right up there next to it. It was just amazing. It was pretty scary from where we were and it just looked absolutely spectacular, the ash that came out. It really did look like one of those atom bomb explosions, and it made a rumbling sound.’’
There were 90 students, six parents and four teachers in the group.
‘‘Some panicked, some didn’t. Everyone came down safely and it was great’’.
The group were about 1 km away from the eruption, Schaumkel said.
''We saw all these tourists running away from it. We didn't stick around long.''
A further 20 Year 8 pupils from Gulf Harbour School in Whangaparoa were making their way off the track with parents and guides after being just 750m from where the crater erupted.
Two bus drivers from Nimon and Sons, who took the Napier children to the mountain, had reported back to their base that they could see an ash plume 2km high, a spokesman said.