Lisa Dallow's husband and daughter passed away in the Dec. 9 natural disaster

By Gabrielle Chung
February 12, 2020 12:52 AM
Lisa Dallow (center)
Family Handout

An Australian woman who survived a volcano eruption in New Zealand has woken from a coma to the tragic news that her loved ones died in the blast.

Lisa Dallow, 48, learned of the passing of her husband Gavin Dallow, 53, and daughter Zoe Hosking, 15, when she recently woke up from her medically induced coma, a family spokesperson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday. 

The mother of one — who was vacationing with her family when a volcano on White Island erupted on Dec. 9 — had suffered burns to 60 percent of her body, according to The Australian.

She has been receiving treatment at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, the newspaper reported.

White Island
John Boren/Getty

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“It took her a while for it to sink in and then she just kept saying she can’t believe they have died,” a representative for the family told the Adelaide Advertiser.

“She remembers it exploding and then telling everyone to run,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

According to Australia’s 9News, Lisa was still in a coma recovering from her injuries when her late husband was laid to rest at Adelaide Oval last month.

“We’ve got to be careful with anything we say to her because she’s very traumatized by what happened and it’s quite emotional,” Lisa’s father-in-law Brian Dallow told the outlet, adding that the mom is “not entirely out of the woods.”

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The New Zealand Herald reported on Sunday that Zoe’s funeral had been delayed in hopes Lisa could attend. However, given the extent of her injuries, Lisa may not be able to recover in time for her daughter’s memorial service, the paper said.

“Obviously Lisa had no input into Gavin’s funeral,” Lisa’s sister-in-law Meredith Dallow told the Herald. “So they [family] want her to be able to have a bit of a say, even though she won’t be able to attend, in what she wants for Zoe.”

“It means she hasn’t been able to attend her husband’s funeral, or Zoe’s funeral,” she continued. “All she can do is watch the video.”

According to New Zealand police, 21 people have died from the volcanic eruption, which unfolded at White Island — also known by its Maori name, Whakaari — last year. Of those victims, officials said 19 died in New Zealand, while two died in Australia.

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The fatal blast occurred on Dec. 9, just after 2 p.m. while 47 travelers — who were from the United States, Australia, China, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — were on the island, authorities confirmed.

Thirty-eight of the tourists were traveling on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, the New Zealand Herald reported.

As victims continue to receive treatment in intensive care and burn units across New Zealand and Australia, authorities are investigating whether it was safe to have tourism at the active volcano, the Herald reported.

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