December 10, 2019 / 10:10 PM / 2 months ago

Safety is priority in White Island recovery - New Zealand police

WHAKATANE, New Zealand (Reuters) - New Zealand police said they are constantly assessing the potential to mount a recovery effort for the people still on White Island after this week’s volcanic eruption, while post-mortems have begun on the six confirmed victims.

“We cannot put other people in jeopardy to go out there until we’re absolutely certain that the island is actually safe,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Bruce Bird told a media conference on Wednesday.

Police said 47 people were on White Island at the time of the eruption. Twenty-four came from Australia, nine from the United States, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two each from China and Britain and one from Malaysia.

The death toll stands at six. Eight people are missing, presumed dead, and another 30 are being treated in hospitals around the country.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in Whakatane and John Mair in Wellington

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