19 Mar 2009

Tongan officials to travel to site of underwater volcano

12:08 pm on 19 March 2009

Tongan officials will today travel to the site of a underwater volcano which has sent plumes of steam and smoke a thousand metres into the air.

The volcano is about 3 kilometres west of the main island of Tongatapu.

Tonga's chief geologist, Kelepi Mafi, says the smoke was visible on Monday.

Mr Mafi says his office has fielded calls from locals wanting reassurance that the smoke poses no threat to the island.

"At the moment we have announced on the radio the area where the event happened and alerted some of the fisherman around the area to let them know that area is very high risk."

Tonga's chief geologist Kelepi Mafi.