Three dead in New Zealand cyclone

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -Three bodies have been found after Cyclone Gabrielle lashed New Zealand, authorities said Wednesday, warning that while the worst of the storm had passed, "we're not out of danger yet."

An aerial photo taken on February 14, 2023 shows the Waiohiki bridge and surrounds inundated by the Tutaekuri River after Cyclone Gabrielle made landfall near the city of Napier. New Zealand declared a national state of emergency on February 14 as Cyclone Gabrielle swept away roads, inundated homes and left more than 100,000 people without power. STR / AFP

One body was found at the site where a firefighter went missing during the storm, and the remains of two others were recovered in the hard-hit Hawke's Bay region, emergency management minister Kieran McAnulty said.

Two firefighters were initially reported missing after a house collapsed in West Auckland.

One of the two was later found and taken to hospital, while the search for the second, which was hampered by rain, wind and ground instability, resumed Tuesday.

The remains have yet to be identified, but McAnulty offered "deepest condolences to the family, to the community and all volunteers and emergency services. This will no doubt hit hard."

McAnulty also said that "sadly, we have lost two lives, both in the Hawke's Bay area. This is incredibly upsetting for everyone involved."