December 11, 2019 / 9:34 PM / 2 months ago

NZ officials say White Island volcano remains 'highly volatile'

A tour operator's boat to White Island is seen at the harbour in Whakatane, New Zealand, December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealand officials said on Thursday the situation on White Island, the volcanic island where an eruption earlier in the week killed eight people, remains “highly volatile” with the risk of a further eruption over the next 24 hours at 40% to 60%.

That means recovery officials did not yet plan to access the island to retrieve the bodies of eight people who have been officially classified as missing. More than two dozen people are being treated for their injuries in hospital.

“I don’t have a plan that satisfies me that the risk is able to be mitigated to the extent I need it to be mitigated to keep people safe,” NZ Police deputy commissioner Mike Clement.

Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Chris Reese

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