Australia Sends Surveillance Aircraft to Assess Damage From Tonga Volcanic Eruption

The Australian Defence Force sent an aircraft to Tonga on Monday, January 17, to assess the damage caused by an undersea volcanic eruption near the South Pacific island on Saturday.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption triggered tsunami warnings for Australia, New Zealand, US, Japan and several South Pacific islands.

Communications were still down as of Monday in Tonga, according to reports, making it difficult to know the impact the eruption had on the island.

“A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon Aircraft will conduct an assessment of damage to critical infrastructure such as roads, ports and power lines, which will determine the next phase of the response effort,” the Australian Defence Force said.

Footage released by the Australia Defence Force shows the surveillance plane leaving an air base in Amberley, Queensland. Credit: Australia Defence Force via Storyful