Duncan Garner: White Island police recovery only happening after community pressure

Opinion 13/12/2019

OPINION: The recovery team has set off and begun its highly dangerous mission to recover the six bodies they know lie on Whakaari White Island and, if conditions allow, try to find two others that no one has spotted. 

Could they still be alive? We are told no, but there will be some holding out hope. 

Make no mistake, this is a seat-of-the-pants dangerous mission without WorkSafe approval.

There is a 50 percent chance of an eruption at any time, and this body retrieval attempt is the sort of thing the SAS would do in a warzone. 

Yet this time the enemy fire is from planet Earth. 

It's natural, unpredictable, violent, and capable of inflicting death or horrific injuries.

I wouldn't be surprised if our elite world-class SAS soldiers are amongst this team heading in there to bring these people off the smouldering island and back into the arms of their grieving loved ones. 

This is what they do.

I've travelled into Afghanistan with these men. If they're there, the job will be done.

They are most impressive, if a little quiet on plane rides. Other things on their mind.  

This mission is underway. They will be close to or on the island right now. 

I am in no doubt it's only going ahead because of the community and whanau pressure following the powerful words of chopper pilot Mark Law, who said to us on Wednesday: Let's go bring these fellas home. 

I'm also impressed with deputy commissioner Mike Clement. He appears to be a can-do cop, not a cop looking for an excuse to cover butt and do nothing.

These are nervous hours in New Zealand. History is being written. Stand by.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.