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UPDATE 8: Whakaari / White Island

Statement attributable to Deputy Commissioner John Tims, National Operations Commander

The six bodies recovered from Whakaari / White Island 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.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush will address media shortly with an update on the recovery operation.

Details for the stand-up will be provided soon.

ENDS

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