Police divers prepare to search the waters near White Island off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand, Dec. 14, 2019.
Police divers prepare to search the waters near White Island off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand, Dec. 14, 2019.

Authorities in New Zealand are planning to resume the search for two people Sunday who are still missing after Monday's volcano eruption on the country's White Island.

"We're working toward a plan that hopefully has us going back onto the island tomorrow, but that's not finally decided yet," New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said Saturday.

Clement said plans for a Sunday search must be "meticulous" given the risks of another eruption and murky waters contaminated by the eruption of rocks, lava and chemicals. 

Divers continued to search Saturday for the two missing people in an area where a body was seen floating earlier in the week. 

Police Deputy Commissioner John Times said the divers were confronted with "unique and challenging conditions" in waters "with between zero and two meters visibility." 

The death toll from the eruption increased to at least 15 after another fatality was confirmed on Saturday. Police did not provide information about the latest fatality.

Six bodies were recovered on Friday in a daring operation by elite soldiers and two military helicopters. The operation was suspended for days as poisonous gases continued to rise from volcanic vents and the island remained covered under a thick layer of acidic ash.

This photo released by the New Zealand Defence Force shows an operation to recover bodies from White Island after a volcanic…
New Zealand Rescuers Fail to Find Bodies of Last two Victims of Volcano Eruption
A land search Sunday of the island failed to locate the bodies of the two people who remain missing

More than two dozen people remained hospitalized Saturday in hospitals across New Zealand and Australia, most with severe burns.

Scientists said the likelihood of another eruption over the weekend was still possible, although the chances were decreasing.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for one minute of silence to honor the victims on Monday at 0111 GMT, precisely one week after the deadly eruption.   

During the eruption, 47 people were on White Island, a popular tourist destination.

Most of the tourists were from Australia, Britain, China, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand and the U.S.

New Zealand officials have received some criticism for allowing tourists to visit the island, considering there were signs of increasing volcanic activity just days before the eruption.