White Island eruption: Brazilian tourists recount terrifying moment their tour boat turned back to the volcano

A young Brazilian couple who left Whakaari/White Island just minutes before the eruption on Monday have recounted their terrifying ordeal.

Visiting White Island was on the young couple's bucket list. After completing their tour, Aline Moura and Allessandro Kauffmann boarded a boat alongside fellow tourists and guides to head back to Whakatane.

Ten minutes later, the tour boat was turning back to help rescue people from the devastating eruption, which started at 2:11pm.

Aline and Allessandro shared their story and incredible footage with The Project on Tuesday.

Allessandro said he was one of the first to see and film the eruption.

"There was huge smoke that came very quickly, going up and around," Aline described.

"It was coming and getting [bigger] so fast. At that moment, we didn't know how serious it was until we couldn't see the island.

"The captain turned the boat around and at first we didn't understand what was happening or why we were going back to the island... our first reaction was 'run away'."

The couple saw people lying on the rocks and noticed the surrounding water had turned white.

"Everyone was covered in [ash]... everything was grey," Allessandro said.

"Some people were very, very seriously injured."

Aline and Allessandro heard "screaming and crying" as their boat neared the island.

"Everyone in the boat tried to help them... very quickly the crew started to do first aid... everything they could for the people asking for help."

Aline said people on the tour boat quickly removed their jackets and tops to help keep the burned victims warm.

"When we didn't have any more clothes [to give], we just tried to hug everyone that we could touch [to help maintain heat]," she explained.

The couple acknowledged the bravery and strength of the 31 people injured in the eruption. 

"They were incredible. We want to give our love and prayers to them. We hope everyone is going to be okay."

Aline and Allessandro will continue their travels around New Zealand.