White Island Volcano Survivor Doesn't Remember Much From Eruption
Lisa Dallow, the Australian mother who woke from her coma more than two months after the White Island volcano eruption, has been told her daughter and husband died in the tragedy.
Brian Dallow, Lisa's father-in-law told 10 News First on Tuesday the 48-year-old mother had woken from her coma and had been transferred from intensive care to the burns unit at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital around two weeks ago.
"As far as we know she's progressing reasonably well... she's getting some treatment some days of the week," Brian said.
"I think the treatment is fairly solid and knocks her out a little bit."
"It’s a bit of a relief to know that she had recovered that much but of course we still don't know whether she's entirely out of the woods or not because we still haven't seen her [and] we don’t know what her present state is."
Brian said his family, based in Adelaide, had not communicated directly with Lisa yet. They have instead been speaking with Lisa's direct family.
"I think for her emotionally it would be better if we see her in person first, rather than over the phone," he said.
While he confirmed Lisa had been told about the death of her husband Gavin, 53, and her daughter Zoe, 15, who died in the December tragedy, the family was still being sensitive in how much information they were telling her.
"She's very sensitive in some areas, so I gather they don't really want to upset her any more than they have to," Brian said, adding Lisa can't remember anything about what happened to Gavin and Zoe other than that they ran.
"She knows they ran, but that's all," he said.
According to Brian, Lisa said she remembers the moment the volcano erupted, and people screaming to "run".
"She can remember getting hit by what she called 'boulders' from the explosion," Brian said.
"Getting lifted onto the helicopter, that's the last thing she can remember."
Brian said his family received some information that Gavin, who died en route to the hospital, was on the same helicopter as Lisa, but that authorities had yet to confirm it.
Brian said his family had also been told that it was too dangerous for New Zealand authorities to return to the island and retrieve any personal belongings of the victims, but they had recieved Gavin's backpack which he had left on a boat.
"That only had Lisa's cardigan and some books and brollies," he said.
"But there are still items that are still outstanding."
Gavin was farewelled by his family at a funeral held at Adelaide Oval last month, which over 600 people attended.
The family has delayed Zoe's memorial with hopes Lisa will be well enough to attend.
"Once Lisa is well enough, we’ve got to discuss what we do with Gavin’s ashes because they're still sitting in the funeral parlour so that will be the next step," Brian said.
For the moment, Brian said his family is "just trying to get on with life".
"We're trying to do some volunteer work again," he said.
But we have our moments.
According to Brian, a debrief from New Zealand and federal authorities, and anniversary events, are already being planned.
"So I think we've got 12 months of not getting rid of anything," he said.
"We're just going from one step to the other and taking it as it comes."
Several Australians were among the 21 killed when New Zealand's White Island volcano erupted on December 9 last year.
Dozens more were seriously injured and the bodies of two people, Australian teenager Winona Langford and New Zealand guide Hayden Marshall-Inman were never recovered.