Days After New Zealand Eruption, Loved Ones Still Wait for News


Richard Elzer and Karla Matthews, both 32, were high school sweethearts who went to the island on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr. Elzer’s father, Peter Elzer, said they had not been heard from since Monday and were “presumed to be deceased.”

He said the couple was traveling with friends, who had provided him with more information than the authorities had. “We are frustrated by the lack of information provided to us from the Australian authorities up until now,” he told ABC.

Matthew and Lauren Urey, of Richmond, Va., were on their honeymoon after getting married in October. Both survived the eruption but were sent to the hospital with extensive burns.

“This isn’t a joke; the volcano actually erupted while we were on the island,” Mr. Urey said in a voice mail message to his mother, obtained by Inside Edition. “Lauren and I got pretty badly burned, so we’re at the hospital in New Zealand. My hands are burned so I can’t use my phone.”

His mother, Janet Urey, told Inside Edition that her son had been “severely burned” on his arms, legs and back.

Lauren Urey’s mother, Barbara Barham, told The Washington Post that Lauren had excitedly called her on Monday after their cruise ship had docked in nearby Tauranga.

“My husband was joking around and said, ‘I hope it’s not a live volcano,’” she said.

Two Sydney teenagers, Berend Hollander, 16 and Matthew Hollander, 13, were confirmed dead by the private boys’ school in Sydney that they attended. Their parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander, remain missing, the school said. The family of four were aboard the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, and are believed to have been on White Island at the time of the eruption, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.


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