New Zealand volcano: Divers deployed to find last two missing bodies

New Zealand volcano: Divers deployed to find last two missing bodies

New Zealand police deployed divers to look for two bodies near White Island volcano, after six bodies were retrieved in a recovery operation.

The volcano erupted on Monday with 47 people there. Eight people were missing on the island, presumed dead.

Another eight have already been confirmed dead and around 20 remain in intensive care with severe burns.

The retrieval on Friday was launched despite the risk of another eruption.

The search for the two remaining bodies will continue on Saturday morning, police said.

The recovery of the bodies from White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, was delayed over safety concerns for the members of any search operation.

Speaking to reporters after the bodies were retrieved, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said questions over why people were allowed to visit the active volcano “must be answered, and will be answered”.

But she said “we also need to respect the phase we’re in now, with families only just getting their loved ones back”.

On Friday morning, a “high-speed” retrieval to get the bodies was launched – even though the risk remained unchanged.

Going in, authorities knew the location of six of the missing and those bodies were airlifted off the island.

A team of eight specialists from the New Zealand Defence Force flew by helicopter to the island and spent four hours retrieving the bodies.

They were taken to a naval patrol boat and then brought back to the mainland.