Critically injured White Island tour guide issues heartfelt thank you from hospital

A young Whakatāne tour guide critically injured in the Whakaari/White Island eruption has thanked people for their support after the disaster, including praising the staff who "literally saved my life".

Kelsey Waghorn Source: Givealittle

Kelsey Waghorn, 25, had been working with White Island Tours for five years before the eruption, and was one of two Kiwi tour guides who were badly injured.

Today she posted her first update since the disaster, thanking people for all their support.

"Thank you to everyone who has reached out or helped my family since December 9th. And to those who have generously donated to my Givealittle, I’ve been reading your comments in small batches as the kindness is overwhelming," she wrote today.

"It’s hard to fathom the amount of love and support from people I met through work, and even people I haven’t met."

Ms Waghorn was in an induced coma for five days after the eruption, and has undergone more than a dozen surgeries.

"Thank you so much to the emergency services, doctors, nurses, surgeons that got me from the Whakatāne wharf, through ICU, to the Plastics and Burns Unit," she says.

"You literally saved my life, and ensured I will go on to live a long and beautiful life. Here’s hoping that 14 trips to the operating theatre are the only trips I’ll take!

"Thank you doesn’t seem like a big enough word(s) to my family and partner who have been by my side from day one, through the low-lows to the 'baby’s first step' highs. You’ve been through hell with me, and I am lost for words in how to thank you all. I’ll just keep pushing forward, and hope that that will do for now."

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Seventeen people were killed in the eruption while two others are still missing. Source: 1 NEWS

More than $100,000 has been raised for her on Givealittle.

Her recovery and message comes a day after her colleague, Jake Milbank, who suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body, shared his own grateful message of thanks.

"Thank you so much for your kindness – it means a lot to me," he wrote.

Twenty people have died from the December 9 tragedy, with the bodies of local guide Hayden Marshall-Inman and Australian tourist Winona Langford lost at sea.