By Zoe Zaczek For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 08:35 GMT, 10 December 2019 | Updated: 08:35 GMT, 10 December 2019
The travel companion of an Australian couple missing in the wake of New Zealand's volcano disaster is in hospital with severe burns.
Jason Griffiths, Karla Mathews, and Richard Elzer were passengers on cruise ship Ovation of the Seas with a fourth friend when the trio decided to visit White Island on Monday.
At least five people died in the powerful eruption on the island, also known as Whakaari, at 2.11pm local time on Monday when 47 tourists were on or around the volcano crater.
Eight others remain missing and are presumed dead.
Jason Griffiths, Karla Mathews (right), and Richard Elzer (left) were passengers on cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. Ms Mathews and Mr Elzer, both 32, remain unaccounted for
Jason Griffiths (pictured) was rescued and is in hospital in a critical condition with serious burns
Mr Griffiths, 33, was rescued from the blast while couple Ms Mathews and Mr Elzer, both 32, remain unaccounted for.
Their other friend was not well enough to tour Whakaari and was forced to watch on as it erupted in the distance,