24 Mar 2009

Tonga volcano attracts tourists

12:06 pm on 24 March 2009

The eruption of the tiny volcanic island of Hunga Ha'apai, 62 kilometres away from the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, has become a tourist attraction today, with charter boats and flights taking people on short excursions to the area.

It could be seen glowing on the horizon last night.

The massive eruption has been the talk of the town since the plume of the double venting was first sighted late on the 17th of March.

Chatham Pacific Tonga's General Manager, Russell Jenkins, says the first flight this afternoon on an eight seater aircraft, was fully booked at a cost of 89 US dollars per person.

Hunga Ha'apai is a remnant of the rim of a submarine caldera that last erupted in 1912, 1937 and 1988.