Newlyweds from Richmond hospitalized after being burned by New Zealand volcano


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — American newlyweds Lauren and Mathew Urey have been hospitalized with severe burns after surviving their honeymoon adventure.

Barbara Barham told The Washington Post on Monday that daughter Lauren Urey, 32, and husband Matthew Urey, 36, were on their honeymoon. Barham said the couple from Richmond, Virginia, had plans to visit a live volcano and weren’t concerned about possible eruptions.

Barham said she got a call sometime later from Royal Caribbean asking if she’d heard from her daughter. Then Matthew Urey’s mother called and relayed a distressing voicemail from her son. Matthew Urey’s message said “there had been a volcano eruption and they were burned very bad,” Barham said.

“He said he would try to call as soon as he could, but talking and making phone calls was difficult,” Barham continued. “His hands were so badly burned it was hard for him to make a phone call.”

Lauren Urey has undergone surgery for burns to her lower extremities covering at least 20% of her body and is recovering in an Auckland hospital. Mathew Urey, 36, had burns on 80% of his body and is being treated more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away at a Christchurch burns unit.

Tourists had been exploring the moon-like surface of White Island, which is the tip of an undersea volcano. It erupted Monday with a towering blast of ash and scalding steam.

Officials say 47 people from New Zealand, United States, Australia, Germany, Britain, China and Malaysia were on a New Zealand volcanic island when it suddenly erupted. Of those, dozens were killed, injured or are missing.

Details are scarce because conditions on the island are too dangerous for officials to return and disaster victim identification experts have only begun their work. Some of the initial information about the dead, injured and missing:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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