WELLINGTON, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Six bodies have been prepared for air lifting off the volcanic White Island, New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said Friday morning.
The process to transport the recovered bodies to Navy ship HMNZS Wellington by helicopter has begun, said Tims.
Recovery operation was started early Friday morning by New Zealand Defence Force. Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said the rescuers are wearing protective equipment and scientists are on hand "offering minute by minute advice."
Police issued a statement saying: "This morning a blessing was held at sea with representatives of the families of the victims of the White Island volcanic eruption."
"The family representatives are returning to the mainland and the operation to recover the eight bodies on the island has commenced," it said.
Clement told a press conference on Thursday that the whereabouts of six of the bodies are known, while two remain unaccounted for.
The White Island, a volcanic island, is a famous tourist attraction which people can explore by boat or by helicopter. If safety conditions permit, visitors can even enter the main volcano crater.