The Police Eagle helicopter, rescue helicopter, and NZDF aircraft have undertaken a number of aerial reconnaissance flights over the island since the eruption.
No signs of life have been seen at any point.
Police believe that anyone who could have been taken from the island alive was rescued at the time of the evacuation.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.
Police are working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already.
"As part of the recovery a NZDF ship will approach the perimeter of the island at first light to deploy drones and observational equipment to further assess the environment.
"Police continue to receive information and advice from GeoNet experts to support the recovery operation.
"The Police Disaster Identification (DVI) team are assembling in Whakatane to await deployment."
Both New Zealanders and overseas tourists are believed to involved, and a number were from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship.
Heartbreaking news at White Island. Ovation was scheduled to leave at 6:45pm this evening but she’s staying with us tonight. I know the whole of the Mount, Papamoa and Tauranga community are thinking of our visitors tonight. pic.twitter.com/eGthmYUjKw— Steve Morris (@SteveMorrisTRG) December 9, 2019
The Police 105 number can be used by members of the public to submit information regarding friends or family who might have been visiting White Island during the eruption.
People from overseas can call +64 9105 105.
They can also use the online form at the Police website here.
At the request of New Zealand Police, New Zealand Red Cross has activated the Family Links website for people wanting to register themselves as safe or register an inquiry about a loved one.
If you are worried about a friend or family member following the White Island eruption, first contact them as you normally would.
If you cannot make contact, you can register them through this website: https://familylinks.icrc.org/new-zealand/en/Pages/Home.aspx
The friends and family of those involved remain at front of mind for Police.
Support is being put in place and Police are working to provide them with information as it becomes available.
Whakatane Mayor Judy Turner says situation on Whakaari / White Island remains extremely volatile.
There have been three eruptions and there is unpredictable ongoing volcanic activity.
Judy says her heart goes out to the injured, the missing and deceased, and their families and whanau.
"Our focus is on supporting whanau and our broader community and visitors. We are working with Ngāti Awa and others to support those most in need.
“We have been advised that the situation on Whakaari / White Island remains extremely volatile. There have been three eruptions and there is unpredictable ongoing volcanic activity.
"The current risk of ash fall reaching the East Coast is low to very low. GNS is continuing to monitor the situation, but at this stage the elevated risk level is contained to Whakaari / White Island.
“We wish to thank the huge outpouring of support from all our neighbouring councils, including the in-person support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, community groups, including Iwi, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and many others.
“Police are leading the search and rescue operation and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is leading the overall disaster response."
The latest confirmed information is that:
• Five persons have now been confirmed deceased.
• A number of others are still missing or unaccounted for.
Police are assessing the situation on Whakaari / White Island and emergency services are on site.
• Police are in constant contact with GNS regarding the level of risk of a further eruption on the Island.
• A five-mile air exclusion zone is in operation around the Island, together with a five nautical mile maritime exclusion zone.
Our community is rallying around to support all those involved:
• Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa has opened Te Mānuka Tutahi Marae and people are welcome to come and share and support one another
Contact numbers for concerned people:
From NZ Police:
Information numbers have been set up for people wishing to register their concern about friends and loved ones who they believe may be involved in this incident.
• People within New Zealand can call 105, or go to the Police website.
• People overseas can call: +64 9105 105
From Red Cross:
• At the request of New Zealand Police, New Zealand Red Cross has activated the Family Links website for people wanting to register themselves as safe or register an inquiry about a loved one.
• If you are worried about a friend or family member following the Whakaari / White Island eruption, first contact them as you normally would.
• If you cannot make contact, you can register them by visiting the Red Cross website - redcross.org.nz Please note this website does not host an official list of missing persons, and information is submitted by members of the public.
From Whakatāne District Council:
• An Open Facebook group has been established at “facebook.com/WhakataneDistrictCouncil – the group will be pinned to the top of the page feed or at this link www.facebook.com/groups/438225890449513
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved, their families and friends."