Police have successfully recovered six bodies from Whakaari/White Island.
Police deputy commissioner John Tims say the bodies recovered will shortly be returned to the mainland before being transferred to Auckland.
“The recovery team are safe and well on board HMNZS Wellington.
“I would like to acknowledge the recovery team for their efforts and the bravery they have shown today.”
“I would also like to acknowledge all the agencies involved in the recovery operation and police and New Zealand Defence Force staff for their dedication and commitment to our response over the last five days.
“To the families and the Whakatane community I understand this has been a tragic and harrowing time and our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”
Whakaari/White Island erupted on Monday at 2:11pm and eight people were missing on the island until the recovery this morning.
Deputy commissioner Mike Clement says the recovery team was in the area where they believed the majority of the bodies were.
Eight bodies are believed to be on the volcano, but Mike says only six had been sighted from the air.
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