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Recovery team land safely on mainland after searching for remaining two bodies on Whakaari/White Island

The recovery team has departed Whakaari/White Island and landed back safely on the mainland.

Body recovery operation on White Island. Source: NZDF

Police have not yet commented on the outcome of the mission.

Two teams of four Search and Rescue and Disaster Victim Identification staff were taken to the island by helicopter around 8.30am.

The Deputy Commissioner of National Operations John Tims this morning said the plan was contingent on a range of risk factors that will be continuously assessed.

He said the team was taken to the area of the island where Police’s best information suggests a body may be.

“They will be wearing the same protective clothing as the eight New Zealand Defence Force personnel who were on the island on Friday,” he said.

“However, their breathing apparatus will be different, meaning they will only be able to stay on the island for up to 75 minutes.”

A GNS scientist will remain on board the Police Eagle Helicopter to monitor the environment in real-time.

The helicopters dropping off the ground teams will also stay above the island in an operational support capacity.

Body recovery operation on White Island by the Defence Force. Source: NZDF

Another person dies from White Island injuries, bringing death toll to 15

Police said yesterday a person died from injuries sustained during the eruption, bringing the total death toll to 15.