Crew from the HMNZS Wellington return to shore to drop off suppliesImage copyright
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Search teams are still looking for two missing bodies, believed to be in the water off the island

A minute’s silence will be observed in New Zealand on Monday to mark one week since the deadly eruption of White Island volcano.

The tribute will be held at 14:11 local time (01:11 GMT), the exact moment of the eruption.

Sixteen deaths have been confirmed while two bodies are still missing, believed to be in the water off the island.

About 20 people remain in intensive care with severe burns.

On Sunday, teams returned to White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, and divers searched the water but, again, were unable to locate the missing bodies.

Depending on the weather, water searches could be resumed on Monday. “This is a difficult and ongoing task,” Deputy Commissioner John Tims said in a statement, adding that police remained committed to retrieving the bodies.

On Instagram, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid tribute to “many people who did extraordinary things to save lives”, saying: “Those who have been lost are now forever linked to New Zealand, and we will hold them close.”

Ms Ardern, who visited some of the first responders last week, was expected to mark the minute’s silence during her cabinet’s weekly meeting.

What about the identification of the victims?

The identification process is being carried out in Auckland by experts including a pathologist, a forensic dentist and a fingerprint officer.

Three other victims were named by police on Sunday, including 32-year-old Karla Michelle Mathews, from Australia. The other two – 16-year-old Berend Hollander and his 13-year-old brother, Matthew – were US citizens and permanent Australian residents.

Five other people had already been identified, four of them from Australia: Zoe Ella Hosking, 15, and her stepfather Gavin Brian Dallow, 53; Anthony James Langford, 51, and Krystal Eve Browitt, 21. The other victim was New Zealand tour guide Tipene Maangi, 24.

Police are gathering information about possible victims, such as descriptions of appearance, clothing, photos, fingerprints, medical and dental records and DNA samples. These details will then be matched to the evidence gathered in the post-mortem examination.

Out of the 47 people on the island when the eruption happened, 24 were from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China, two from the UK, and one from Malaysia.

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Media caption“Toxic gases and ash”: The BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil flies around White Island

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