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White Island volcano survivor, 24, reflects on tragedy one year on from the blast that killed family

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‘I wish I could go back in time’: White Island volcano eruption survivor, 24, shares the final images she took of her family one year on from the tragedy that killed her father and sister

  • Stephanie Browitt, 24, survived the deadly White Island volcano eruption
  • She suffered burns to 70 per cent of her body in the blast on December 9 2019
  • Ms Browitt’s sister Krystal, 21, and father Paul lost their lives in the tragedy 
  • The 24-year-old shared pictures of the family to mark one-year since the cruise 

A White Island volcano survivor has shared the final images she took of her family on the cruise ship just days before her father and sister were killed in the eruption.

Stephanie Browitt, 24, was touring the island with her 21-year-old sister Krystal and their father Paul when the volcano erupted off the coast of New Zealand on December 9, 2019.

Stephanie suffered third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost parts of her fingers. Her father and sister were among the 22 victims killed in the blast.

Ms Browitt’s mother Marie was the only member of the family to stay on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the tragedy struck. 

With the anniversary of the disaster approaching, Stephanie has reflected on her final days with her family and urged others to enjoy every moment with their loved ones while they have the chance. 

White Island volcano eruption survivor Stephanie Browitt (pictured) has shared the final images she took of her family on the cruise ship before her father and sister died from the blast

She suffered third degree burns to 70 per cent of her and since receiving several skin grafts she has been wearing a a full face mask to protect her mottled skin

Stephanie (pictured ) suffered third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and lost a number of her fingers

Ms Browitt marked the one-year anniversary of the family holiday on Saturday by sharing pictures to Instagram

Ms Browitt marked the one-year anniversary of the family holiday on Saturday by sharing pictures to Instagram 

‘One year ago today on what we thought was just another night on our end of year family cruise we enjoy,’ she wrote on Instagram. 

Ms Browitt said she usually ‘can’t wait’ to share photos from the cruise the second she has internet access but this time she ‘held off’.

‘It’s been extremely hard and painful to look back at these knowing we had no idea what was to come,’ she wrote. 

‘Cruel is all I can think of.’

The Instagram post included a picture of Ms Browitt sitting on an extravagant chair in front of a restaurant on the ship, as well as happy snaps of Krystal and Paul during dinner.

Marie Browitt (left) was the only member of the family to stay on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the tragedy struck

Marie Browitt (left) was the only member of the family to stay on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the tragedy struck 

Ms Browitt's Instagram posts included happy snaps of Krystal (pictured) and Paul at dinner while on the cruise

Pictured: Paul Browitt on Ovation of the Seas

Ms Browitt’s Instagram posts included happy snaps of Krystal and Paul at dinner while on the cruise 

Ms Browitt (pictured) uses her social media accounts to share updates on her recovery

Ms Browitt (pictured) uses her social media accounts to share updates on her recovery

‘We were enjoying ourselves so much at the different restaurants, especially this magical one based off of Alice in Wonderland,’ Ms Browitt wrote. 

‘To think we had no idea absolutely kills me inside, I just wish I could go back in time and make the most of our precious time that we had before everything happened.’

The Browitt sisters are seen together before the tragedy

The Browitt sisters are seen together before the tragedy 

She urged others to enjoy every moment spent with loved ones.  

‘Make new memories and love every moment,’ she concluded.

Ms Browitt also posted a tribute to her late sister on Instagram on Sunday. 

It would have been her 22nd birthday.

‘My beautiful baby sister Krystal, today you should be celebrating your 22nd birthday with us and your friends. Instead, you aren’t,’ she wrote. 

‘You should still be here, you deserved so, so much better in life but instead we were let down by multiple people. 

‘I hope dad’s holding you tight and hugging you for both mum and myself.’

There were 47 people on White Island, also named Whakaari, when the volcano erupted. Only 25 people made it out alive.   

Krystal was killed in the initial blast, while Paul died later in hospital. 

Ms Browitt uses her social media accounts to often share updates on her recovery.

The fatal explosion off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand, claimed the lives of 22 of the 47 people on the island on December 9, 2019

The fatal explosion off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand, claimed the lives of 22 of the 47 people on the island on December 9, 2019 

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