The bodies of two people missing after a volcano erupted on New Zealand’s White Island last week likely washed out to sea and may never be found, New Zealand police said on Wednesday.
Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement told a news conference on Wednesday that a dive squad and helicopters will continue to search for the two missing bodies for a day or two longer.
“The reality is we have to wait for Mother Nature to produce those bodies, and it may and it may not. And the reality is, we’ll be here if it does,” he said.
The two missing is Australian tourist Winona Langford, 17, and New Zealander Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, who was a tour guide.
Clement said police believe the bodies were near a stream on the island. Based on tidal patterns, the bodies may have washed out to sea, likely towards New Zealand’s East Cape, he said.
People from all over the world were caught up in the eruption, which happened with little warning.
Of the victims who have been named, two are New Zealand citizens, and 15 are either Australian citizens or permanent residents of that country.
White Island, also known as Whakaari, erupted on December 9 while 47 people were visiting the volcano, which is about 48 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. At least 16 people were killed and two others remain unaccounted for.