Grave fears for young Australian couple still missing in the wake of New ...

Grave fears for young Australian couple still missing in the wake of New Zealand's volcano disaster as their travel companion is revealed to be fighting for life in hospital A couple from Coffs Harbour are missing in wake of White Island eruption  Jason Griffiths, Karla Mathews, and Richard Elzer were on cruise from Sydney Mr Griffiths, 33, was rescued while couple Ms Mathews and Mr Elzer are missing

By Zoe Zaczek For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 08:35 GMT, 10 December 2019 | Updated: 08:35 GMT, 10 December 2019

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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, 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

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,

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