White Island volcano survivor shares update on her recovery

Inside the painstaking laser treatment a White Island volcano victim is forced to endure after suffering burns to 70 per cent of her body and losing her sister in the tragedy

  • Stephanie Browitt has shared her latest update in her recovery since tragedy
  • Her sister and father died during the White Island explosion in December 2019
  • She’s receiving laser treatment on her face to help stimulate tissue regeneration 

A survivor of the horror White Island volcano explosion has detailed the painstaking laser treatment she is required to have to help heal the scar tissue covering her face.

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.

She 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.

The 24-year-old has been candid in her recovery, sharing intimate parts of the process online every step of the way.

Stephanie Browitt, 24, (pictured) 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 explained that the laser treatment stimulates scar regeneration by creating microscopic holes in the tissue

Her latest update came on Monday afternoon following her second round of fraxel laser treatment on her face and neck.

She revealed she looks forward to the treatment, because ‘it’s one step closer to not needing it’. 

Stephanie explained that the laser treatment stimulates scar regeneration by creating microscopic holes in the tissue. 

It will also hopefully improve the functional ability and mobility of the scar tissue, while also improving the appearance. 

The ultimate goal is that the treatment will reduce some of the redness on Stephanie’s face and flatten raised sections – though she understands it will never entirely get rid of it.

‘This will be quite an ongoing thing for me in the long term as I cannot do all of my burns areas at once,’ she explained.

After sharing the short video, she was inundated by well wishers who were shocked at the extent of her recovery a year on from the tragedy.   

Her latest update came on Monday afternoon following her second round of fraxel laser treatment on her face and neck


After sharing the short video, she was inundated by well wishers who were shocked at the extent of her recovery a year on from the tragedy

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

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

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

Ahead of the one year anniversary, Stephanie reflected on her final days with her family and urged others to enjoy every moment with their loved ones while they have the chance. 

‘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. 

Stephanie 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 herself 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 (pictured, left, with her family) 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, left) and Paul (right) at dinner while on the cruise 

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

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

The Browitt sisters are seen together before the tragedy 

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

Stephanie 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.  

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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