Tourist recalls helping Richmond couple burned by volcano while on honeymoon

Local News

A man who rescued a Richmond couple from a deadly volcanic eruption in New Zealand spoke about the experience.

Geoff Hopkins was on a tour boat leaving White Island when the volcano erupted. The boat turned around and people helped pull 23 survivors to safety.

A Richmond couple, Matt and Lauren Urey, were honeymooning in New Zealand at the time and were part of the group who were rescued.

RELATED: Voicemail said Richmond couple burned by volcano; then silence

Hopkins spent most of the 90-minute trip back to shore caring for the newlyweds.

“I remember I asked her name and she struggled to say it,” Hopkins recalled. “But he said it for her and said ‘she’s my wife.’ And she would ask ‘how’s my husband? And he would ask ‘how’s my wife?'”

“She said, ‘This is the worst day of my life.’ And I had to say, ‘Yes, it is. But you’ve got so much more in your life to live,’ Hopkins said. “When she says ‘I don’t think I’m gonna make it,’ you rebuke that. ‘You are gonna make it. You are gonna make it. You’re strong. You’re a fighter. You’re gonna get through this. You’ve got a future.'”

Matt and Lauren are both in the hospital recovering from severe burns. Their families have flown down to New Zealand to be with them.

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