Flights sent to assess Tonga damage after volcanic eruption

    A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft ready to depart Base Auckland for a reconnaissance flight over Tonga. (Photo Credit: NZDF.)

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand and Australia have sent military surveillance flights to assess the damage caused by a huge undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga.

    Communications with the Pacific island nation have been limited since Saturday's eruption.

    A British woman who was missing has been found dead, in the first reported fatality on Tonga.

    Residents who got messages out to the world described a moonscape left by tsunami waves and volcanic ash fall.

    The single underwater cable that provides internet and international phone service was likely severed by the eruption.

    The ash was contaminating drinking water. New Zealand is planning to fly water and other supplies to Tonga on Tuesday.

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