White Island eruption: Severely burned survivors were covered in 'hot volcanic ash', 'toxic gases'

Rick Reed and Ivy Kohn Reed.
Rick Reed and Ivy Kohn Reed. Photo credit: GoFundMe

A US survivor of the White Island eruption has detailed its horrific aftermath, revealing her and her husband were covered in "hot volcanic" ash and left severely burned.

Ivy Kohn Reed and Rick Reed, of Massachusetts, were among those injured when Whakaari erupted in December.

Rick suffered burns to 30 percent of his body, including on his hands, legs, and face, while Ivy had burns to 20 percent of her body, including on her right leg, hands and face.

The couple had been recovering in hospital since the tragedy but have since returned home to the US.

Writing on a GoFundMe page on Saturday and sharing a picture of the pair 15 minutes before the devastating eruption, Ivy gave an update on their conditions.

"Approximately 15 minutes after this was taken, the White Island volcano erupted, burying us in hot volcanic ash and toxic gases," Ivy says.

"We survived, were rescued and spent eight weeks in a New Zealand hospital receiving critical care treatment." 

She added that their "dream vacation turned into a nightmare".

"The next year will be the hardest of our lives while we try to rehab and regain as much functionality as possible."

More than $39,000 has been raised to help the couple with their recovery.

Ivy wrote that they were happy to be home but scared about what the next step was.

"We truly are lucky to have such loving support."

Following the tragedy, Ivy's brother Barry Kohn told US media that the couple had already visited the crater of the volcano and were walking away when it erupted - "that probably saved their lives", he said.

Twenty-one people died in the eruption.