A person who survived the White Island volcano takes off his face mask for the first time.
After more than two years, a woman who lived through the terrible White Island volcano eruption was finally able to take off her face compression mask.
After more than two years, a brave young woman who lived through the White Island volcano eruption in December 2019 was finally able to take off her face compression mask.
Stephanie Browitt, from Melbourne, was visiting an island in New Zealand’s northeastern Bay of Plenty region on December 9, 2019, when a volcano erupted and burned 70% of her body.
The eruption killed 22 people, including her sister Krystal, who was 21 at the time, and her father Paul.
Ms. Browitt’s road to recovery has been long and hard, and she has told more than 1.6 million people about it on social media.
Now, she has finally been able to take off her last burns garment. During an interview with Nine’s 60 Minutes, the 26-year-old took off her face mask.
Ms. Browitt told host Sarah Abo that finally being able to take off her mask was “a big deal” and that it felt like “this day would never come.”
“It makes me sad and scared. It is both scary and exciting at the same time,” she said.
After taking off the mask, the young woman looked in a mirror and said she is stronger than she ever thought she could be.
“I see a person who has been through a lot more in life than I ever thought I would. “I see a person who is in a lot of pain,” she said.
“This is exciting, but getting here has been a long, hard journey. I’m stronger than I ever imagined I’d be.
“I have learned that the struggle to stay alive is real. I had to fight every day just to stay alive and get back to being myself. I never knew I could do this.”
Ms. Browitt said she wished her father and sister could be here with her today.
The family went to Whakaari/White Island as part of their vacation on the Royal Caribbean. The cruise company offered an excursion to the island as a thing to do.
Marie, who was Ms. Browitt’s mother, decided to stay on the ship while her husband and two sisters went on the trip.
Fourteen Australians were among the 22 people who died, and Ms. Browitt was one of the 25 people who were badly hurt.
As the group was leaving the crater, she remembered seeing black smoke start to come out of the volcano.
“We heard the front tour guide yell, ‘Run,’ and that’s when we realized what was going on and decided in a split second to just run,” she told 60 Minutes in 2020.
“It came from behind, and as it got closer, it got louder and louder, and you could hear all the rocks. People were yelling and the sound of rocks hitting the ground could be heard. “I didn’t think I would live… I thought my life was over.”
On Sunday night’s episode, pictures of Ms. Browitt’s injuries that had never been seen before showed the horrible burns that covered almost her whole body.
After the eruption, the young woman was in a deep sleep for two weeks.
Ms. Browitt also recently posted a video on TikTok that showed the burns on her legs and showed that her Nike joggers kept her feet from getting burned.
“They did something, and my feet didn’t get burned at all,” she said.
“Thanks a lot to Nike, and a big shout out to them, because they saved my feet.”
Ms. Browitt told 60 Minutes that when she woke up for the first time after the event, she remembered bits and pieces.
“I was full of tubes and surrounded by medical equipment. I was in a very small room with a lot of noise. I don’t think these things will ever leave me. The 26-year-old said, “It’s just things you don’t forget.”
Ms. Browitt said that getting better was very hard, especially at the beginning of her journey.
She said that sometimes she thought her future was “pretty bleak” and that she had to relearn a lot of things that she used to know without thinking.
“Like a baby, I had to start from scratch. “I had to start from scratch to learn how to sit up straight, get out of bed, take my first few steps, and even feed myself. None of these things were easy at all,” she said.
“It was a very hard thing to do.”
There have been many times when I wanted to give up or just cried because I didn’t want to do anything. But I do think I’ve come a long way since the first day.”
The young woman is now in the process of filing a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean for the physical and mental harm she has received.
Her lawyer, Peter Gordan, said that the island had been a “ticking time bomb” for weeks, based on the data they had.
“It makes me really angry. So many people were let down by them… He said, “So many people died for no reason.”
“The injuries Steph has are the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who has fought as hard as she has.”
Ms. Browitt is now looking to the future. She told the program that she wants to “go back to as normal a life as possible.”
She wants to go back to work full time, travel, and meet people again.
She said, “I know so many people are behind me, and that helps me see that this isn’t as scary as it seems.”