New Zealand recovers 6 bodies days after volcanic eruption

WHAKATANE, New Zealand (AP) - Military specialists have recovered six bodies from a small New Zealand island days after a volcanic eruption claimed at least eight other lives and left behind a toxic and volatile landscape.

Grieving families sang traditional Maori songs as a team of New Zealand military specialists recovered the bodies. Police say families cheered when they were told of the successful recovery of six bodies and expressed joy and relief.

The bodies were airlifted to a shop and will be transferred to the mainland later for identification.

The team of specialists wearing protective clothing and breathing gear landed on White Island by helicopter Friday.

The operation was risky because scientists say the island is “highly volatile" and gases are so toxic and corrosive a single inhalation could be fatal.

Divers are working at sea and a flight will be conducted later to look for the other two victims.

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