A Tasmanian woman on board the cruise ship caught up in the tragic volcano disaster in New Zealand has described her devastation for fellow passengers impacted by the eruption.
"I can't imagine what they went through at the time, or the suffering that's happened since - particularly for the family and friends who are still missing loved ones," said Sarah* of Hobart, a passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas.
There are fears up to three Australians may have died when a volcano on White Island in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty erupted on Monday.
Five people have been confirmed dead with a further eight presumed dead after aerial surveillance did not show signs of life on the island.
A total of 24 Australians travelling on the Ovation of the Seas took a tour of the island on Monday.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said of the 24, 13 were hospitalised across New Zealand and 11 remain missing.
The three feared dead are believed to have been from the cruise ship but this is yet to be confirmed.
"So many people on board feel incredibly saddened and shocked by what's happened," said Sarah.
On Monday, Sarah and her partner returned to the ship from a different day tour to the news of the eruption.
She said they rushed to the other side of the ship which faced toward the island.
"It was about 90 kilometres from the ship at the time. You could see the plume of ash and steam from the top deck in the distance," she said.
Sarah remains on board the ship which is currently docked in Tauranga until further notice.
"We were meant to depart for Wellington at 6pm local time last night but we are still docked," she said.
"They've said our itinerary will change but they haven't given us updated details yet."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not confirmed if any Tasmanians are among the missing.
- *Sarah's last name has been withheld on her request