Forty-seven tourists were exploring the island when the volcano started spewing steam and ash. Rescue helicopters swooped in to help them despite danger but five of those rescued had died.
They also admitted that no signs of life had been seen "at any point" hours after the rescue operation began, and based on the data they had "we do not believe there are any survivors on the island."
Thirty-one patients are being treated at seven hospitals. Some of those injured have burns to 90 percent of their body and at least one has been critically injured, according to sources cited by the New Zealand Herald website.