6 Apr 2009

Scientists says new volcanic land still not safe for visiting

6:22 am on 6 April 2009

Scientists are warning that new land created by an eruption on Tonga's Hunga Ha'apai Island is still not safe for visiting.

A tourism operator, Gian Piero Orbassano, says up to a dozen people a day have been travelling to see it by boat but not landing.

He says there is still a lot to see from a boat, as the volcanic vents are still smoking and the water around the island remains yellow from sulphur.

But the volcano network co-ordinator from New Zealand's GNS Science, Craig Miller, says people should be cautious about going near the island.

"Flights are probably less dangerous than being on the island as you are still going to be some distance away in an air craft and it's not going to be instantaneous more than likely, but people should still be wary that even though it has stopped erupting, it's only a week or two weeks ago."

Craig Miller says it's difficult to know how active the area is because the volcanoes are not being monitored.