Six bodies have been successfully recovered from Whakaari / White Island and are now onboard HMNZS Wellington.

Earlier this morning, six bodies were prepared for airlifting off Whakaari / White Island and to transport them to HMNZS Wellington by helicopter.

The recovery team was in the area where the majority of the bodies were.

The operation had taken more time than expected, this is due to the protective equipment the recovery team is wearing which can be restrictive and heavy but is necessary.

Conditions for the operation were good in regard to the weather, sea state and the environment on the island.

More to come.