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NZ police unable to locate bodies on volcanic island

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NZ police unable to locate bodies on volcanic island

NZ police unable to locate bodies on volcanic island

New Zealand recovery teams returned to the volcanic White Island on Sunday, but were unable to locate two remaining bodies in their search, the police said.

Emer McCarthy reports.

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NZ police unable to locate bodies on volcanic island

Recovery teams have been unable to locate the final two bodies missing six days after a volcanic eruption on New Zealand's White Island.

Clad in HAZMAT suits, eight police search and rescue staff were deployed for 75 minutes on Sunday (December 15) to search an area where their information suggested one body possibly remained.

New Zealand's deputy police commissioner Mike Clement told reporters the search was unsuccessful.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND POLICE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, MIKE CLEMENT, SAYING: "But I can say we have found no further bodies in that area.

I said earlier that there was one body in the sea and we are searching for that body, there's every chance that the second body we are also searching for is also in the sea." But authorities are refusing to give up hope.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND POLICE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, MIKE CLEMENT, SAYING: "We don't give up easily, there's a whole lot of disappointed people back behind me with regard to what we've tried to do in the interests of returning people to loved ones.

So they will go and have a bit of a debrief.

But I tell you what they'll be back up in no time in terms of their motivation to get the job done." On Saturday (December 14), divers faced contaminated waters and low visibility as they searched the waters surrounding the volcanic island and were unable to locate either of the missing persons.

Six bodies were successfully retrieved from the island on Friday (December 13) by a New Zealand military team and taken to the mainland for disaster victim identification.

The death toll from the eruption rose to 16 on Sunday as one of those rescued from the island died in hospital.

But there are fears this number may rise further as more than two dozen people are still hospitalized across New Zealand and Australia, most with severe burns.




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