"They were pretty poorly ... but covered in ash, looking quite badly burned," said helicopter pilot James Tayler, adding that the ash had obscured the details of injuries.
About 50 people, New Zealanders as well as foreign tourists, were feared to have been nearby and several were seen near the rim of the crater minutes before the eruption.
The unprecedented scale of violence targeting a minority has strained institutions designed to provide answers and deliver justice.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern banned the sale of all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles just six days after the March 15 shooting, and announced plans to tighten gun laws.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Peters was headed to Turkey to "confront" comments made by Erdogan on the killings, and she repeated Friday he was there to "set the record straight.
Erdogan - who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections - said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.
New Zealand's recently-elected prime minister Jacinda Ardern may make the trip, though this remains uncertain.