Hiding behind a pile of rubble as ash and debris from the depths of Whakaari rained down on them, Lauren Urey held her husband's hand and told him she loved him.
"I thought it was only seconds until I would die," she told TVNZ.
"I just wanted him to know how much I loved him."
Minutes before, the newlyweds had watched as ash silently mushroomed from the volcano's crater.
Their tour guide yelled at them to run as the ashen cloud rolled outwards toward the 47 people on the island.
"And then the cloud just consumed us," Matt Urey said.
"I mean it was the darkest, most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face."
They could feel their skin sizzling, rocks pelting down on their hard hats.
Cowering behind a rock close to the water with other tourists, Matt was "convinced it was the end for both of us".
"I mean it was just the most terrifying moment in my life ... I don't know how we ever survived," he said.
The respirators they'd been handed as they stepped foot on the island saved them from breathing in the toxic gas.
Tuesday marks six months since the disaster, which killed 21 people.
The Ureys had wed in South Carolina two months earlier. The honeymoon cruise they'd booked to celebrate offered an excursion to the active volcano.
They told TVNZ the only hint that something was amiss on Whakaari was that they were told some areas were off-limits due to a recent raised level of volcanic activity.
Eight minutes before the disastorous eruption, they'd snapped themselves smiling standing in front of the crater.
After the blast, Matt was covered in ash, unrecognisable except for his height, Lauren said.
The injured tourists rushed to the boat, skin peeling off them, screaming.
Lauren, who had lost her respirator and inhaled noxious gas, described the scene as "torture".
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," Barham said of the voicemail.
"His hands were so badly burned it was hard for him to make a phone call."
They spent the next two months recovering in separate hospitals, talking to each other every day.
A recent update to their Go Fund Me page says the pair returned to the United States at the end of January, where they recovered in hospital until their release mid-February.
"After we got home, we were put on a rigorous rehabilitation schedule with multiple physical and occupational therapy sessions each week," Matt wrote.
"We have been making steady progress, but Covid-19 definitely caused some unneeded headaches. We were unable to safely visit the hospital for our appointments, so we had to resort to virtual visits."
Six months on from the tragedy, it felt, in some ways, "like just yesterday, and in others it feels like ages ago," he wrote.
"It is nothing short of a miracle that we are both alive, and we try to keep that in mind as we deal with the challenges related to our injuries.
"We are still in the early phase of what is going to be a long road ahead to truly heal.
"We are expecting to be wearing compression garments until around this time next year, and the doctors have told us we will likely need multiple surgeries to restore some of our mobility and lessen the scarring."
He thanked well wishers - who have donated more than $68,000 in funds - for their ongoing support in their recovery.
• Whakaari/White Island tragedy: Where the survivors are at six months on
• Six months on, White Island could erupt again with little warning
• Whakaari/White Island survivor Jake Milbank speaks out on his recovery
• Whakaari/White Island eruption: Death toll officially at 20 people