Lauren and Matt were on their honeymoon when the pair travelled to White Island.
Lauren and Matt were on their honeymoon when the pair travelled to White Island.

Newlyweds’ 10-minute volcano escape

The newlywed couple who were celebrating the happiest time of their lives while on honeymoon in New Zealand have revealed their dramatic survival story on White Island.

Matt Urey and his wife Lauren had only celebrated their wedding day two months ago and had decided to go on the Ovation of the Seas cruise to celebrate. As part of their holiday, the pair booked an onshore excursion to White Island on the day of the eruption

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Matt and his wife Lauren were on-board the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. Picture: Facebook.
Matt and his wife Lauren were on-board the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. Picture: Facebook.

RELATED: Chilling new footage from White Island eruption

But as the horror unfolded, Matt and Lauren made a decision that may have saved their lives. Instead of running, the pair hid behind a pile of rubble to stop the impact.

In the moments following the eruption, Matthew's mother Janet Urey received a frantic voicemail from her son describing the eruption and detailing the burns he and his new wife had received.

Barbara Barham, Lauren's mother, had also heard the voice message from her son-in-law, telling The Washington Post the pair "were burned very bad".

"He said he would try to call as soon as he could but talking and making phone calls was difficult," Mrs Barham said of the voicemail.

Lauren and Matt were on their honeymoon when the pair travelled to White Island.
Lauren and Matt were on their honeymoon when the pair travelled to White Island.

"His hands were so badly burned it was hard for him to make a phone call."

Since Matt and Lauren have been taken to hospital on the mainland, Mrs Urey has shed further light on how her son and daughter-in-law managed to survive the eruption.

"They were able to take some shelter behind a large rock," she told US station 21 WFMJ.

"Ten minutes … it could have meant life or death for them, but luckily they were already down the volcano close to the water, so they sheltered themselves a little bit. They already had been provided with respirators so they didn't breathe in all the ash."

RELATED: White Island victims named

They hid behind a large rock.
They hid behind a large rock.

RELATED: Ovations of the Seas cruise ship departs Port of Tauranga

Mrs Urey, who travelled from Pittsburgh in the US to be with her son in New Zealand, said he was in recovery after receiving burns to 80 per cent of his body. She said her 36-year-old son needed a three-hour surgery and will require extensive skin grafts and further procedures in 48 hours.

"The burns were a little worse than we had hoped," she explained, noting the worst of his injuries are on his hands, abdomen, back, legs and chin.

"He's taking fluids and eating a little jello, so stable for now."

The White Island volcano eruption has claimed the lives of nine Australians.
The White Island volcano eruption has claimed the lives of nine Australians.

It is understood Lauren is sedated in an Auckland hospital and still intubated ahead of more required surgery.

Mrs Barham said she received a call from Royal Caribbean following the eruption but said she was furious the tour company allowed passengers to go on the island in the first place.

"I'm just livid," she said. "There's been warnings about it … my son-in-law never would have booked the excursion if he knew there was any chance of them being injured."

The couple were among nine Americans caught up in the eruption on White Island, which has claimed the lives of nine Australians, with seven Australians still missing.

Matt left a chilling voicemail following the eruption explaining their injuries.
Matt left a chilling voicemail following the eruption explaining their injuries.
Lauren suffered significant burns to her body.
Lauren suffered significant burns to her body.


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