St John can confirm ambulance operations responded to a volcanic eruption on White Island this afternoon, occurring at 2.11pm.  Our ambulance crews have worked with New Zealand Police, Royal New Zealand Coastguard, Ambulance Air Operators, District Health Boards and Royal New Zealand Airforce, in a coordinated response to the White Island eruption. 

One helicopter with paramedics and St John Medical Director Dr Tony Smith on board spent a short time on the island assessing the scene.  Staging points were set up at Whakatane Airport and Whakatane Coastguard base to assess and triage patients. In total St John responded 11 helicopters and 12 ambulances to treat and transport patients to various hospitals including Whakatane, Tauranga, Middlemore and Auckland City, by air and road. 

St John has treated patients with injuries ranging from critical and serious through to moderate and minor. It has been an exceptionally complex scene and our paramedics, both frontline and working in our Clinical Communications Centre, have done an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances. 

We will continue to support the operation and debrief with our frontline teams in the coming days.

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