New Zealand deploys divers to look for two bodies near White Island volcano

New Zealand has deployed divers to look for two bodies near White Island volcano after six bodies were retrieved in a recovery operation.

The retrieval on Friday was launched despite the risk of another eruption.

Authorities knew the location of six of the missing and those bodies were airlifted off the island.

A team of eight specialists from the New Zealand Defence Force flew by helicopter to the island and spent four hours retrieving the bodies.

They were taken to a naval patrol boat and then brought back to the mainland.

“Unfortunately the recovery option is not over as two people remain unaccounted for,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in a statement.

“We know at least one body is in the water and divers are currently attempting to recover this body.

“We are making every effort to locate and recover the two remaining deceased.”

The volcano erupted on Monday with 47 tourist and local guides in the island . Eight people were missing on the island, presumed dead.

Another eight have already been confirmed dead and around 20 remain in intensive care with severe burns.

The recovery of the bodies from White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, was delayed over safety concerns for the members of any search operation.

Volcanologists warned that if the volcano erupted while they were on the island, the team could face magma, superheated steam, ash and rocks thrown at high speed.

The specialists from the New Zealand Defence Force who went to the island were kitted out with protective clothing and breathing apparatus.

During the operation, a geologist analysed real-time data to assess whether the mission needed to be aborted.