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Police finalising plan to recover bodies from White Island tomorrow morning

Police say they're finalising a plan to recover bodies from Whakaari/White Island tomorrow morning.

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The announcement follows growing frustration from families desperate for their loved ones to be retrieved from the eruption zone. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after an escalation in geothermal activity on the island has seen a recovery effort unable to get underway since the initial rescue on Monday.

Police say they will be briefing families of the eruption victims about the operation later today.

GNS volcanologist Graham Leonard say they have been briefing police on the conditions on the island, showing media a map of risk zones on the island, with a large red zone around the crater which is a "no go zone" for scientists.

Risk zone maps on White Island, December 12, 2019. Source: 1 NEWS

The yellow zones on the map would need a good reason for scientists to visit them, Mr Leonard says.

It's up to police whether they decide to head into those zones to attempt a body recovery.

GNS is updating the risk map on a daily basis as there is a high level of volatility on the island.

Eight people are confirmed dead and eight others are presumed dead on the island after the eruption.

More people are being treated in hospital, with most in a critical condition and battling severe burns.

Earlier today police said that rushing into a recovery effort would impact not just safety, but risk damaging evidence that could help the victims of the White Island tragedy.

In the same press conference, GNS lead volcanologist Nico Fournier said while the alert level has been reduced to level two today, that's only because White Island isn't actively erupting.

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"The situation is still highly volatile. This is the most active Whakaari has been since 2016," he says.

Tremors are still increasing, with a 40 to 60 per cent likelihood of another eruption in the next 24 hours, Mr Fournier says.