updated 3/16/2006 10:14:25 PM ET 2006-03-17T03:14:25

A volcano erupted on a remote New Zealand island Friday, tossing rocks and steam high into the air and prompting the evacuation of a dozen workers. One person was missing, officials said.

The volcano in the remote Kermadecs islands group erupted for about 30 minutes shortly after dawn following a series of strong earthquakes that began last Sunday night, the agency noted.

“One staff member is missing after going on a routine mission to check the water temperature of the lake,” said Conservation Department regional manager Rolien Elliot.

She said a helicopter was flying to the island to evacuate staff. Nearby boats had also been alerted to support the evacuation.

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