White Island Body Recovery Planned For Friday: NZ Police

New Zealand Police have confirmed plans to recover bodies from White Island are being finalised.

Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the retrieval will happen on Friday morning.

"I can now confirm that we are finalising a plan to recover the bodies from Whakaari / White Island tomorrow morning," a statement released on Thursday afternoon said.

Eight bodies are believed to be on the island.

Families of those missing will be briefed on the mission by Tims on Thursday afternoon.

Despite continuing volcanic activity, there has been increasing pressure from family of those missing to retrieve their loved ones from the island.

Graham Leonard, Volcanic Geologist, told media on Thursday White Island remains "volatile and uncertain".

"Experts estimate the likelihood of eruption has moved to 50- 60 percent in the next 24 hours, up from 40 percent yesterday," he said.

"There is an ongoing consistent trend and tremor and so far this has contributed to an increase in the likelihood of eruption estimates each day."

Sydney's Knox Grammar School confirmed brothers Matthew Hollander (year 8) and Berend Hollander (year 10) died in hospital on Wednesday night.

The School said the brothers were well-liked and enthusiastic students.

Berend Hollander (left) Matthew Hollander (right) have been confirmed dead by Knox Grammar School Image: Supplied.

"Matthew was involved in cadets and representing the school in basketball, squash and debating," the school said in a statement.

"He was elected as a Mentor Representative in 2018/19. Matthew had a close circle of friends and was popular amongst his peers."

Berend, known as Ben, had a passion for baseball, AFL, cadets and software design, the school said.

"Ben's engaging smile and quirky sense of humour made him a good mate to his close group of friends and a welcome member to every classroom."

The boys were on holiday with their parents, Martin Hollander and Barbara Hollander when the volcano erupted. Their mum and dad are still unaccounted for.



Three More Australians Identified In NZ Volcano Tragedy

Three more Australians have been identified following the volcanic eruption in New Zealand on Monday.

New Zealand Police confirmed on Thursday morning eight people have now died in the disaster.

Australians confirmed dead are Brisbane woman Julie Richards, 47, her daughter Jessica Richards, 20, Adelaide man Gavin Dallow, and Jason Griffiths from Coffs Harbour.

The identities or nationalities of the two most recent victims have not been confirmed by police. One of the deceased was being treated at Middlemore Hospital and the other at Waikato Hospital.

Ten Australians are still officially missing and are presumed dead. Efforts to retrieve their bodies were hampered by signs of increased volcanic activity on White Island on Wednesday.

A further 20 people are being treated in hospitals across New Zealand for burns.

White Island in New Zealand before a volcano erupted on Monday. Image: AAP.

Ten victims from NSW will be flown to Sydney from New Zealand to receive critical care on Thursday NSW Health has confirmed. They will be treated at "world-leading" hospital burn units. All the victims are adults.

“At this terribly sad time when we have lost fellow Australians, I commend the co-operation of both New Zealand and local health authorities to orchestrate the safe return of these patients who will receive the best care available," Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

Five victims arrived in Australia from New Zealand overnight. One landed in Australia at 4am on Thursday and was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital where they remain in a stable condition.

Two more New South Wales residents arrived in Sydney on Thursday afternoon and were also transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital.

Three patients have already been transported to Concord Hospital, including one who arrived on Wednesday evening. Two are in a critical condition, while the condition of the third has not been made known.

Two more patients are expected to be transported to Concord Hospital's specialist burns unit on Thursday evening, NSW health authorities said.

An unconfirmed number of victims arrived in Melbourne.Image: 10 News First.

A unconfirmed number of victims arrived at Essendon airport in Melbourne on Thursday morning and were taken to The Alfred Hospital.

Just one Australian citizen will remain in New Zealand for treatment following the reparation scheme.  Evacuations were conducted by Royal Australian Air Force planes. The federal government launched a repatriation plan on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison extended his sympathies to the families of the Australian victims and confirmed the government will update the public on the volcano disaster as more information comes to hand.

"In the days ahead, there will be worse news, based on what I've just relayed to you. I want to thank all of those who have been involved in supporting the families and the friends of those who are missing and presumed deceased," Morrison said on Thursday.

An unconfirmed number of victims arrived in Melbourne. Image: 10 News First.

Recovery efforts on White Island will be delayed again on Thursday due to a 60 percent chance the volcano could erupt again in the next 24 hours.

"... the situation remains highly volatile and all our combined data are actually suggesting that to that extent. This is the most active that Whakaari/White Island has been since 2016," Volcanology Team Leader from GNS Science Nico Fournier said on Thursday morning.

"We believe that there is shallow magma, the molten rocks which is driving the activity under the surface and this is portrayed by one of our main indicators, which is the level of tremor that is increasing, and it keeps increasing."

GNS Science will continue to do flights around the volcano to monitor volcanic activity.

Michael Lueck


Why Were Tourists Allowed On White Island?

The official death toll remains at six, and eight people are still missing, presumed to have died in Monday's volcanic eruption at Whakaari/White Island.

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