A risky mission to retrieve the bodies of eight people believed to have been killed in the White Island eruption will begin at first light Friday, authorities in New Zealand say. "We have a plan," says Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement: Eight people, including military personnel and police specialists, will travel to the island wearing special clothing to protect them from the volcano's toxic gases, the New Zealand Herald reports. The mission is expected to take several hours, and there is a risk the volcano could erupt again. "They will go onto the island, making every effort to recover the bodies and return to the mainland," Clement says. "I have to emphasize that the risk has not gone. The risk is present."
The risk of another eruption within the next 24 hours is in the 50% to 60% range, experts say. Police say they have been under pressure from families to retrieve the bodies from the island before another eruption destroys any remains. Two brothers injured in Monday's eruption have died from their injuries, bringing the confirmed death toll to eight, the Guardian reports. Matthew Hollander, 13, and his brother, 16-year-old Berend Hollander, were high school students in Sydney. Their parents are believed to be among the victims still on the island. At least 28 people injured in the eruption are still hospitalized, 25 of them in critical condition with severe burns over much of their bodies. (A huge amount of skin is being sent to New Zealand from the US and Australia.)