The two bodies from the Piper Seneca have been removed from the crash site on Mt Taranaki.
After spending several hours yesterday digging snow and ice away from around the plane, the search team spent the night at Manganui Ski Lodge. The Air Force helicopter took them back to the summit at first light this morning to continue the recovery operation.
Inspector Anne Knox, Area Commander New Plymouth, said the team had to work quickly as it was anticipated the weather would close in again around midday or early afternoon.
The bodies were retrieved in relatively quick succession and were taken byhelicopter from the summit to the Plateau, and then transported to New Plymouth at about 1 pm.
Inspector Knox said the priority now is to get the searchers from the site.