A DARLINGTON couple, who were thought to be missing after not making contact with family since the eruption of a volcano on White Island, New Zealand, are reported to be safe and well.

Concerns were raised yesterday over the welfare of Karl Rakos, 57, and Deb Rakos, 50, who are on a cruise around New Zealand,

Their son, Mark Rakos, said he was growing increasingly concerned for their safety after not hearing from them from them since Sunday, despite repeated attempts to make contact.

However last night Karl Rakos's mum, from Ferryhill, has reported that the pair are safe and on a cruise ship heading for Australia.

Sixth person dead 

Police in New Zealand have said a sixth person has died following the eruption on volcanic White Island.

A statement said the person was being treated at a local hospital but did not confirm their nationality.

"Police can confirm a further person has died following the eruption on Whakaari/White Island, bringing the official toll to six," the statement said.

"The person was earlier being treated at Middlemore Hospital.

"Police remain focused on supporting families at this terrible time."

Missing Briton is safe and well

Matthew Evans, 38, who is originally from Carmarthen in Wales and was one of the Britons listed as missing on a Red Cross website, is safe and well.

His brother Ian Evans told the PA news agency: "He was travelling with his new wife, he was trekking at the time and we were concerned because we hadn't heard from him for 24 hours.

"But they are safe. They were in the North Island, away from the Bay of Plenty.

"They said they had no idea what had gone on."