The father of a young American woman injured in the White Island volcano eruption while on her honeymoon is understood to have made it to her bedside in Auckland.

Lauren Urey and her new husband Matthew were among 47 tourists believed to be on the island at the time of the explosion.

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The pair were both badly injured with 32-year-old Lauren taken to Auckland for treatment to severe burns to about 25 per cent of her body.


Lauren's husband was taken to Christchurch with burns to 80 per cent of his body.

Duncan Parker told the UK's BBC Breakfast television programme that his cousin Rick Barham - who is Lauren's father - had landed and was with his daughter.

"He hasn't given us an update on her status yet," Parker said.

Newlyweds Lauren and Matthew Urey were visiting White Island. Photo / Supplied
Newlyweds Lauren and Matthew Urey were visiting White Island. Photo / Supplied

The family had also not yet managed to make it to Christchurch to meet the injured Matthew.

"I know that's definitely a key agenda once they have the situation under control in Auckland," Parker said.

He said the couple visited White Island as part of a dream cruise ship holiday for their honeymoon, having just married in October.

"I believe they had just talked to Lauren's mother and father that day and told them what they were up to and full of excitement," he said.

"This is the last thing anyone expected."


Lauren's mother Barbara Barham earlier told the Washington Post her daughter had called up excited on the day of the blast.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship on which Lauren and Matthew, 36, were spending their honeymoon had just docked in Tauranga, and the couple had an action-packed day ahead of them.

"She said they were going to the volcano," Barham, told the Post.

"My husband was joking around and said, 'I hope it's not a live volcano'."

Actually, Lauren responded, it is. The Ureys had plans to visit White Island, but "weren't concerned that there was any chance of an eruption", Barham said.

She told the Post she and her husband, who live southeast of Richmond, Virginia, had no idea of the chaos that soon broke out halfway around the world.

Matt and Lauren Urey were married in October and enjoying a honeymoon cruise before the eruption. Photo / Facebook
Matt and Lauren Urey were married in October and enjoying a honeymoon cruise before the eruption. Photo / Facebook

First, she got a call from Royal Caribbean shortly after midnight asking whether she had heard from Lauren. The couple hadn't returned to their cruise ship after the volcano tour and were missing.

Barham's phone was soon ringing again. It was Matthew's mother, and she had just received a distressing voicemail from him.

"Her son called and said that they had been on the excursion and 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. His hands were so badly burned, it was hard for him to make a phone call."

Janet Urey provided a recording of the call to US media outlet CNN.

"Hi mum, it's me," Matthew said in the call.


"I just want to let you know - and this isn't a joke - the volcano actually erupted while we were on the island.

"And I got pretty badly burned so we're at the hospital in New Zealand so I just wanted to let you know, if you don't hear from me, we're fine.

"But my hands are burned so I can't use my phone."

Matthew went on to tell his mother in the call that he didn't know how long he would be in hospital but would try to keep her updated as best he could.

Janet Urey told CNN's Anderson Cooper the voicemail came through at midnight and her "heart just stopped".

"I didn't even listen to the whole thing, I just hurried and tried to call him back and was lucky enough to be able to speak to him," she said.


"I'm very blessed, there are people that did not have the luxury of knowing their loved one got off the island."

She said her engineer son suffered burns on his hands, legs, arms, back, abdomen and hands, so much so that he couldn't even use the phone.

The young couple had earlier flown out of the US on Black Friday and spent three days in Australia.

"That was his dream," Janet said.

"They were having the time of their lives, they were just so happy."

"So this has just been a nightmare."