Pilots are ready to return to White Island - but red tape means they're stuck on the sidelines.

Jason Hill helped evacuate people on Whakaari White Island on Monday.

He told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan looking at conditions on the island, he would've gone back to retrieve victims over the last two days.

"We all know the risks involved and everyone takes risks every day. I'm certainly willing to take that risk and help those loved ones."

Hill's also spoken of the moment on the island when they realised no one was coming to help.

As he tended to the injured, they heard on handheld radios that emergency services weren't coming.

That's when he knew they had to act fast.

"We knew if we didn't help them right there and then, we wouldn't be seeing any of them again."

Hill says he left his co-pilot behind to transport the injured to safety but once back on shore was told by authorities to leave him there.

He was ready to break the rules - but heard shortly after his friend was on another helicopter back home.