New Zealand volcano disaster: 6 of 8 bodies recovered from tourist island, officials say

Six bodies were recovered by the New Zealand military on Friday following a volcanic eruption that killed at least eight people and left toxic waste behind.

The eruption, which occurred Monday on White Island, was so strong, military specialists had to wear special protective gear and breathing equipment, The Associated Press reported.

Scientists claim the discharged gases are so lethal, that even one breath could cause death.

The searchers were reportedly sent in by helicopter and later helped airlift the bodies to a ship, which was waiting off the Eastern coast of New Zealand. The bodies are set to be taken to Auckland for examination and identification.

NEW ZEALAND VOLCANO DEAD INCLUDE 2 TEEN BROTHERS FROM CHICAGO AREA; PARENTS STILL MISSING: REPORTS

Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims praised the military specialists for "their efforts and the bravery they have shown" after they all returned safely from their mission, according to The AP.

Forty-seven tourists, most of them from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, were exploring the island with tour guides during the eruption. Survivors suffered severe skin burns, with some being sent to medical burn units for skin grafts.

Police are currently planning a second recovery effort to locate the two remaining bodies.

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A family with ties to the Chicago area has been confirmed to be among the victims, according to reports.

Teen brothers Berend and Matthew Hollander, ages 16 and 13, respectively, were born near Chicago and were confirmed as having been killed in the eruption by officials at the Australian school they were attending, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Their parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander, ages 48 and 50, respectively, are still unaccounted for.

Fox News' Dom Calicchio and The Associated Press contributed to this report