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