TODAY |

Police may return to White Island tomorrow - possibility one of two bodies is on land

Police will likely be back on Whakaari / White Island as early as tomorrow morning as they work to retrieve the final two bodies lost in the eruption.

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Police spent the day searching at sea for one body, but another is still thought to be on land. Source: 1 NEWS

Dive squads spent today searching around the jetty for one of the bodies, but visibility was very low.

Police said divers had reported seeing dead fish and eels floating in the water or washing up on the shore.

Divers were working in tough conditions and were being decontaminated with fresh water upon surfacing.

Divers in the water around Whakaari/White Island need to wear specialist protective equipment. Source: NZ Police

Inspector Mike Clement says police know that time is of the essence, and that they now believe that one of the two bodies remaining on the island could be on land.

Today, Whakatāne celebrated with its annual Christmas parade - a small shift back to normality for the town.

Watch the full report from Paul Hobbs in Whakatāne above.