A survivor of the Whakaari/White Island eruption, who lost her sister and father during the event, has recalled the moment her skin fell off her hands immediately after the explosion.

Australian woman Stephanie Browitt, 23, suffered burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost parts of her fingers as a result of the December 9 eruption.

The volcano has been in a state of unrest since it erupted last year, killing 21 people and injuring 26, with scientists saying it could blow again with little warning.

Browitt, who has been spending the last six months recovering in hospital and rebuilding her life, revealed on Monday that her fingers needed to be amputated.

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"I wasn't that upset," she wrote of her experience on Instagram.

"I was grateful I still had my hands because when the eruption happened I remember seeing my hands and realising how bad they were.

"My nails were hanging off, skin in shreds and also peeling off and they were black and red in colour, (blood/ash)".

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Funnily enough, when I found out my fingers had to go I wasn’t that upset. I think I was grateful that I still had my hands because when the eruption happened, I remember seeing my hands and realising how bad they were. My nails were hanging off, skin in shreds and also peeling off and they were black and red in colour, (blood/ash). So I was grateful it was just my 1st knuckle being amputated. What I didn’t realise was, how much that would actually effect my function and fine motor skills. You really don’t realise how much your body does for you until you lose the ability to do so. As you can see my L hand has a lot more range, the thumb can open up wider and nearly touch my pinky. My R hand is my bad hand, the fingers can’t bend / straighten as much and the thumb can only just make it underneath my other fingers. Future surgeries will happen but I’m getting as much from therapy as I can first. Seeing the progress with my hands definitely makes my day, month and year though! Although it’s slow it’s such a big deal for me. I saw photos of my hands when I was first admitted to hospital to compare them to now and I can honestly never be more grateful enough towards the surgeons at The Alfred. They put so much care into my hands with my skin grafts and they’ve healed amazingly. I look forward to seeing more progress and achievements everyday. 🙌🏻 #whiteislanderuption #whiteisland #survivor #progress

A post shared by Stephanie Coral Browitt (@stephaniecoral96) on

Browitt spoke of her recovery journey, revealing the hurdles she had to overcome with her hands, since being dragged off the island.

"What I didn't realise was, how much that would actually affect my function and fine motor skills," she wrote about her injuries.

"You really don't realise how much your body does for you until you lose the ability to do so."

She explained that her thumb can almost touch her pinky on her left hand, while she can barely move what is left of her right hand at all.

"The fingers can't bend/straighten as much and the thumb can only just make it underneath my other fingers," she wrote about her right hand.

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She added that she is putting further surgeries on hold at this stage as she is determined to get the most out of therapy.

Krystal Browitt, from Melbourne, died as a result of the eruption. Photo / Facebook
Krystal Browitt, from Melbourne, died as a result of the eruption. Photo / Facebook

"Although it's slow, its such a big deal for me," Browitt said.

"Seeing the progress with my hands definitely makes my day, month and year."

Browitt said she was externally grateful towards the surgeons at the Alfred in Melbourne who worked hard to save her hands.

"They put so much care into my hands with my skin grafts... They've healed amazingly," she said.

"I look forward to seeing more progress and achievements everyday."

Even though she is proud of her progress so far, Browitt said she was still haunted by the events that took place.

"Honestly, every time it's the ninth of each month I can feel my heart racing and my body tense as the memory of it floods back in my mind," Browitt wrote on Instagram on the six-month anniversary of the eruption.

"I get anxious. I hate it so much, it does not get easier. It just hurts more and more when I think about how much time has passed since I was last with my dad and sister."

Her mother, who chose to stay back on the cruise docked in Tauranga when the rest of her family visited the island, has been by Browitt's side since.

Browitt said despite the time that has passed, she recalled the eruption like it was "just yesterday."

"Time feels weird now. I just hope every other victim and myself 'manage', because that's all we can do," she wrote on the post.

Stephanie Browitt's father Paul and sister Krystal died as a result of the eruption. Photo / Facebook
Stephanie Browitt's father Paul and sister Krystal died as a result of the eruption. Photo / Facebook

"We're just picking up the pieces of our new lives and doing the best that we can do."

The Browitts reached the centre of the island at about 2pm, taking a picture together at the edge of the steaming crater lake at 2.04pm.

Six minutes afterwards as they were headed to the jetty when Whakaari/White island erupted.

Browitt's younger sister Krystal managed to capture the moment it began on camera, with a gas cloud beginning to emerge from near the crater lake.

Their tour guide instructed the group to start running and before Browitt was able to put her gas mask on her face she was hit by a wave of ash and rock.

"It felt like a wave, like it just takes you," she said.

"I was just knocked over. I was tumbling, rolling, for minutes. I mean it felt like forever until it stopped and then it was just burning hot.

"I remember trying to stand up and it took so much energy just to stand up I remember thinking, 'I can't believe how hard this is'. My legs just felt like jelly."

After getting to her feet and walking for a short time, Browitt fell and tumbled down a small hill and landed among a group of people.

Help only arrived nearly an hour after the volcano erupted.

No one was able to move, Browitt said, as they waited for help with the sun making her burns more painful.

She heard her father call out her name and called back to him before everything went quiet, Browitt said.

"I think a lot of people gave up on screaming," she said.

"But every 15 to 20 minutes, I'd hear my name again. My dad was yelling out my name and I realised he was checking up on me to make sure I was awake."

NZ Herald were in the air in the hours after the dramatic eruption of White Island and captured stunning footage of NZ's most active volcano. Video / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust / George Novak

Browitt was rescued by helicopter pilot Jason Hill but not before the pilots tried to load Paul in first, who told them to take his daughter first.

After landing at Whakatāne, a 20-minute flight from the volcano, Browitt was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Browitt and her father and Paul were flown to Melbourne and Paul died in hospital four weeks after the eruption.

The Browitt family do not know what happened to Krystal and whether she was brought back on one of the helicopters on December 9 or if her body was one of six left on the island and recovered four days later.