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Hermitage native injured in New Zealand volcano eruption leaves voicemail for mother

HERMITAGE, Pa. — An American severely burned in Monday's volcano eruption in New Zealand called and left a voicemail for his mom.

Matthew Urey was on his honeymoon with his new bride, Lauren, on a Royal Caribbean cruise. During an excursion, the White Island volcano suddenly erupted.

His mother, Janet Urey, spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday and said her heart just stopped when she heard his voicemail. The couple was transported to different hospitals.

On the voicemail, Urey said, "Hi, mom, it's me. I just want to let you know this isn't a joke. The volcano actually erupted while we were on the island. Lauren and I got pretty badly burned. So we're at a hospital in New Zealand. So I just want to let you know. If you don't hear from me, we're fine. But my hands are burned, so I can't use my phone. I don't know how long I'll be here, but I'll try and keep you updated as best I can."


At least five people have died following the eruption and eight people are still unaccounted for.

Janet Urey said it has been horrible getting any information from the hospital in New Zealand.

She said a social worker in Christchurch called her to let her know her son had been airlifted there and was in intensive care.

She said the social worker told her he was awake and able to breathe on his own.

Janet Urey said she has yet to get an update from any official from the U.S. Consulate or the cruise line.

WKBN reports Urey is a Hermitage native and attended Hickory High School. The couple lives in Richmond, VA.