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Whakaari / White Island – return onto island

"Whakaari / White Island – return onto island"

Attributable to Deputy Commissioner John Tims, National Operations Commander:

A recovery team is this morning returning to Whakaari / White Island, with boots on the ground and resource in the air.

As with the first recovery operation, the plan is contingent on a range of risk factors which have been, and will continually be, assessed.

Two teams of four Search and Rescue and Disaster Victim Identification staff are being taken to the island by helicopter.

These Police staff will be deployed to an area of the island where our best information suggests a body might be.

They will be wearing the same protective clothing as the eight New Zealand Defence Force personnel who were on the island on Friday, however their breathing apparatus will be different, meaning they will only be able to stay on the island for up to 75 minutes.

The Police Eagle Helicopter will be above the island in an operational support capacity, as will the helicopters that dropped off the ground teams.

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

We remain committed to finishing the task at hand and returning the two remaining bodies to their loved ones.

ENDS

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