New Zealand troops retrieve 6 bodies in daring volcano mission

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A team of elite New Zealand soldiers airlift 6 bodies from the volatile White Island volcano, police said, in a mission carried out under the ever-present threat of another eruption.

Philippines News, Philippines Headlines

DARING MISSION. An air force helicopter leaves Whakatane airport on December 13 as it assists with the recovery of the 8 bodies on White Island who perished in the December the 9th White Island eruption, in New Zealand. Photo Marty Melville/AFP

After a tense wait of more than 5 hours, word came through from police that the majority of the bodies had been recovered and sent to a naval frigate anchored off the coast. Police said on the eve of the operation that they would search for the remains of the other two missing people but had limited time in such a dangerous environment.

"It has been an incredibly difficult operation but it’s been such a priority. We just want to bring everybody home," she told Australia's ABC Radio. GeoNet volcanologist Nico Fournier said the dangers facing recovery teams if an eruption occurred included magma, superheated steam, ash and cannonball-like rocks thrown from the caldera at supersonic speed.

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