Police are preparing to recover bodies from White Island tomorrow.
Three days on from an international tragedy, grieving families flock to New Zealand to be at the bedside of the injured and wait for answers about the dead and missing.
Volatile Whakaari/White Island is at risk of erupting again, forcing rescuers to consider a possible high-speed, in-and-out mission to recover bodies.
Whakatāne Mayor Judy Turner acknowledged a "growing sense of desperation" to bring home loved ones from the island.
"No news is not good news for people in this situation," she said.
Police Minister Stuart Nash promised communication with affected families would be better.
A frank conversation had taken place with one of the families - it had "needed to be to had", he told media.
Currently, volcanologists from GeoNet said the island had a 50-60 per cent chance of erupting again within the next 24 hours.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement earlier said he did not have a plan that satisfied him the risk could be mitigated enough to keep rescuers safe.
"At no time in the last two years, probably longer, has the risk of further eruption been greater."
At this stage New Zealand Police have confirmed eight people are now dead and believe a further eight are still on the island, presumed dead.
Police may consider seeking consent from victims' families to launch a high-speed recovery operation.
A normal recovery operation would include police spending enough time at the scene to collect the evidence needed to ensure all bodies were properly identified.
"One of the disciplines associated with uplifting deceased people in a mass casualty situation like this is preserving the evidence that might lead to identity," Clement said.
"The more time we can spend with the body when we uplift it from the circumstances in which they have died, the more likelihood that we can preserve that evidence."
A fast mission, on the other hand, might not be able to achieve this.
"We will get no thanks whatsoever if we reach a situation at the end of this where we are not able to sign off on identity," Clement said.
"That would be an absolute poor outcome for us. We aim to repatriate all of the deceased to their families and do so in a way that there is conclusive proof to the satisfaction of the Coroner with regard to identity."
They were all trade-off situations and it was his job to consider the options, he said.
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The tension came on a day of continued heartache.
The latest faces of the tragedy were two Australian schoolboys.
Berend Hollander, 16, and his brother Matthew Hollander, 13, died in hospital as a result of the injuries they had sustained during the volcanic eruption.
The Hollander family released a statement saying they were "absolutely heartbroken" by the loss.
"Ben and Matthew were wonderfully kind and spirited boys who lived short but very fulsome lives."
The boys had loved their school, Australian sport and an outdoor lifestyle, the statement said.
"They had a positive and lasting impact on everyone's paths they crossed."
The boys' parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander, remain unaccounted for.