A MUM injured in the New Zealand volcano eruption has woken from a coma to be told her husband and daughter died.
Lisa Dallow, 48, was among 47 people on White Island when it suddenly exploded on December 9, claiming the lives of 21 people.
The engineer from South Australia suffered burns to more than 60 per cent of her body.
Her husband Gavin, 53, died in a helicopter after being rescued, and her 15-year-old daughter Zoe died near the island.
A family spokesperson told the Adelaide Advertiser: "It took her a while for it to sink in and then she just kept saying she can't believe they have died."
Mrs Dallow doesn't remember much of the eruption, they added, but she "remembers it exploding and then telling everyone to run".
"She then recalled how rocks were falling everywhere and hitting her on the back.
"She remembers thinking 'when are they going to come and rescue us?'
"The next thing she knows is she is in hospital and wondering where she was."
She was unable to be at her husband's funeral, but it is hoped she will be able to attend her daughter's memorial.
Mrs Dallow is currently recovering in Melbourne's Alfred Hospital burns unit, having intensive rehabilitation.
Tourists from the US, Britain, China and Malaysia were among the injured along with New Zealanders after the eruption on White Island.
The volcano suddenly erupted at 2.11pm local time, sending a 12,000ft plume of smoke and rock into the air.
Images showed one group of people trekking across the centre of the volcano's crater just a minute before the eruption.
WHY DID WHITE ISLAND ERUPT?
Just below Earth's outer crust is a layer of magma, or liquid rock, known as the mantle.
Volcanoes form when pressure in the mantle begins to build, and magma is forced up through gaps in the Earth's crust.
In certain conditions, such as movements of the planet's tectonic plates or currents of heat in the mantle, the pressure will build further and, eventually, the volcano will erupt, throwing magma into the air.
New Zealand lies on the so-called Ring of Fire, a 25,000-mile chain of 452 volcanoes around the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
The ring runs up past Asia and Russia, across to Alaska, and down the westerly coasts of North and South America.
Since 1850, about 90 per cent of the most powerful eruptions in the world have happened along this boundary.
White Island was a very active volcano and questions are now being raised about whether tourists should ever have been allowed to visit.
Dr. Jessica Johnson, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia, told the Guardian that increased numbers of small earthquakes and more volcanic gas detected than usual in recent weeks had seen the alert level raised.
Even with the alert levels raised, volcanic eruptions are notoriously difficult to predict.
Speaking to the Australia Science Media Centre, Raymond Cas of Monash University's School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment described White Island as a "disaster waiting to happen".
"Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups," he said.
Tourist Michael Schade gave a harrowing account of the blast – saying his tour boat left the island just 30 minutes earlier.
He wrote on Twitter: "Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end.
"The helicopters on the island looked destroyed.
"This is so hard to believe. Our whole tour group were literally standing at the edge of the main crater not 30 minutes before."
The disaster followed a series of warning signs that had been growing more alarming over recent weeks, as questions are asked about why tour groups were allowed to visit the island.
Survivors of the blast were taken to hospitals on New Zealand's North Island, many with severe burns.
In November, authorities raised its Volcanic Alert Level to Level 2, as scientists observed increasing amounts of sulphur dioxide gas – a key indicator of rising magma deep in its bowels.
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