INDEPENDENT NEWS

Update 5: Whaakari / White Island

Published: Sun 15 Dec 2019 01:09 PM
"Update 5: Whaakari / White Island"
Statement attributable to Deputy Commissioner John Tims, National Operations Commander
This morning at 8am, three helicopters- two commercial helicopters and the Police Eagle helicopter – left for Whaakari / White Island with eight Police staff on board.
Those staff covered a search area where our best information suggested a body could still remain.
Unfortunately, we did not locate a body this morning.
We have always anticipated recovering all bodies from the island, and we remain deeply committed to that goal, to allow families some closure.
We are now debriefing, reassessing and coming up with a new plan going forward.
NZDF resources and personnel, Navy divers and the Police National Dive Squad remain in Whakatane to assist however they are required.
Navy and Police divers are working together and have recommenced searching in the area this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the process of identifying victims and releasing bodies to their loved ones is ongoing in Auckland.
We will continue to release the names of those who have died as soon as we are able to.
Our staff and partner agencies continue to work tirelessly as we approach one week since this tragic event and I wish to thank them for their dedication.
ENDS

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