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Recovery Teams Return To White Island, Search For Two Remaining Bodies

A recovery team has returned to New Zealand's White Island in a bid to retrieve the remains of those still missing after a volcanic eruption.

Six bodies were taken off the island on Friday in a high-stakes mission following Monday's eruption, which is believed to have killed 16, including at least nine Australians.

Two bodies are still missing. Police and navy divers searched unsuccessfully off the volcanic island on Saturday.

Two teams of four search and rescue and disaster victim identification staff were taken to the island by helicopter on Sunday morning, NZ police said.

An operation is underway to recover bodies from White Island. Image: AAP

"These police staff will be deployed to an area of the island where our best information suggests a body might be," Deputy Commissioner John Tims said in a statement.

While they are wearing the same protective clothing as the defence force personnel involved in Friday's effort, differences in their breathing apparatus mean they will only be able to stay on the island for up to 75 minutes.

Updated

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Death Toll From New Zealand Volcano Eruption Rises Amid Challenging Recovery Efforts

The official death toll from the volcanic eruption on White Island has risen to 15, according to New Zealand police, as divers continue to search for the bodies of two remaining victims.

"We remain committed to finishing the task at hand and returning the two remaining bodies to their loved ones," Deputy Commissioner Tims said.

Police divers prepare to search the waters near White Island off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand, Saturday Dec. 14, 2019. A team of nine from the Police National Dive Squad resumed their search at early Saturday for a body seen in the water following Monday's volcanic eruption. (New Zealand Police via AP)

Nine Australians are confirmed dead, two are presumed to have died and 13 are in hospital with severe burns.

However that may change, with NZ police confirming on Saturday evening that another victim of the blast had died in hospital, without offering further details.

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Six Bodies Found On White Island In Risky Recovery Mission

New Zealand Police have confirmed six bodies have been recovered from White Island.