But with 11 Australians unaccounted for, three of those are feared to be amongst the five that have already been identified as deceased. This is a very, very hard day for a lot of Australian families whose loved ones have been caught up in this terrible, terrible tragedy. Can I also confirm that, after speaking with the New Zealand prime minister, that the operation has moved into recovery phase. There were four helicopters that were there as part of the rescue operation and assessing the scene, as the prime minister confirmed earlier, that were able to take a reconnaissance of the island at that time, and as New Zealand police said last night, there is not considered to be anyone on that island that remains alive …

I fear there is worse news to come over the course of perhaps today or over the next few days. This is a terrible tragedy, a time of great innocence and joy interrupted by the horror of that eruption, and I would ask again that we refrain from any speculation about individuals at this time so we can ensure that we can contact and deal directly with families to ease what will be a highly anxious and highly upsetting time for them.



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