Donations sought for Engadine couple injured in White Island volcano disaster

Community support: A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Nick and Marion London.
Community support: A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Nick and Marion London.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for the Engadine couple critically injured in the White Island Volcano eruption in New Zealand.

Nick and Marion London were on a day trip to view the island's active volcano when it erupted at about 2.10pm on Monday.

Their children Matthew, 23, and Louise, 27, flew to their bedsides in a New Zealand hospital on Tuesday where they were on life support in intensive care with extensive injuries.

The couple was flown back to Australia last night and have been joined by their children.

The federal government arranged the medical evacuations as part of a mass casualty response plan activated on Wednesday to bring the injured Australians home.

Three Royal Australian Air Force planes were sent to Christchurch on Wednesday as part of the repatriation effort carrying teams of specialist aircrew and medical equipment.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 11 medical evacuations were planned over two days with the help of state governments.

NSW Health's chief health officer Kerry Chant said this morning eight NSW residents injured in the volcano disaster were now receiving specialist care at burns units at Concord and Royal North Shore hospitals.

Close family friend Tom Nieuwland and Matthew's long term partner Ashley Kollath created the GoFundMe page to raise money for the London family.

Matthew told Mr Nieuwland his parents were now in a Sydney hospital where they will begin the long road to recovery.

"Our parents were air vacced to Sydney last night," Matthew wrote. "Things could easily go either way for them at the moment but they'll be in surgery all day tomorrow."

Matthew said he was thankful for the "help and support" being offered to his family.

Mr Nieuwland said Nick, 58, and Marion, 56, were "very lucky to make it off the island with their lives".

"Nick and Marion both have extensive burns to over 50 per cent of their bodies as well as internal chemical burns from breathing in toxic gases and remain on life support," he wrote.

"Nick and Marion were medically evacuated back to Australia. They both have an incredibly long and difficult road ahead with the first of many extensive surgeries happening [Friday] to remove the damaged skin and graft some areas.

"With the unclear and long road ahead and the medical and recovery costs only just starting for the family, we would like to start this page to support Nick and Marion's recovery and support their two children Matt and Louise."

"Any and all funds will go directly to support Nick and Marion, and their family."

Louise London told family friend David Batten her father had suffered injuries to his hands while her mother had suffered "significant" burns.

Mr Nieuwland grew up with Matthew, attending the same primary school and high school, and playing soccer together.

"Matt's family was always really good to me growing up, whether it was being welcomed into their home, or with Nick coaching our soccer team, or taking us rock climbing in St Peters most weekends," he said.

"They have always been extremely supportive of both Matt and Louise and it's honestly terrible that they got caught up in all this."

Mr Nieuwland said Matthew and Louise wanted to thank the entire Engadine community, "especially those who have reached out with donations and kind words".

"It really means the world to Matt, and the support is going a long way," he said.

A total of 47 people were on White Island when they volcano erupted, showering them with ash and volcanic gases, resulting in horrific injuries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that of the 47 people on the island at the time, 24 were Australian. The majority were passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship that departed Sydney on December 4.

Mr Morrison said at the time 24 Australians were either missing or being treated in hospital. A number of Australian deaths have since been confirmed by authorities or the victims' families.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that bodies recovered from White Island during a dramatic rescue early today were likely to be that of Australians.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had been told the retrieved bodies likely belonged to six missing Australians.

"I think it is difficult to say in advance of the formal process but we know, and we have been advised by authorities, that that is expected to be the case, yes," she said.

Among the 12 Australian deaths confirmed are Sydney schoolboys Matthew and Berend Hollander. They were holidaying with their parents, Martin and Barbara, who remain unaccounted for.

Three members of another Sydney family are also presumed dead. Anthony and Kristine Langford remain missing, as does their daughter Winona, 17. Their son Jesse, 19, is among those critically injured.

Australian Jason Griffiths died in a New Zealand hospital with his friends by his side. He had visited the island with Karla Matthews and Richard Elzer, who are among the Australians presumed dead.

Mother and daughter Julie and Jessica Richards, Zoe Hosking and Krystal Browitt are also missing, presumed dead.

Zoe's stepfather Gavin Dallow was confirmed dead while his wife and Zoe's mother, Lisa Hosking, is among the injured.

To donate to the GoFundMe click here