Harrowing photo shows the life-changing injuries sustained by a teenage guide during the White Island volcanic eruption – as seen for the first time since the disaster
- White Island guide Jake Milbank suffered burns to 80 percent of his body
- The volcano erupted off the coast of Whakatane in New Zealand on December 9
- Mr. Milbank has had 23 operations at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital since the blast
- On March 1, Mr. Milbank was exempt from day leave and was able to visit his dog
A 19-year-old White Island guide first had a breath of fresh air after suffering burns from 80 percent of his body three months ago.
Jake Milbank led a group of tourists when the volcano erupted off the coast of New Zealand’s Whakatane on December 9.
The blast claimed the lives of 21 people, including White Island Tours colleagues from Mr. Milbank, Hayden-Marshall Inman and Tipene Maangi.
The teenager has since gone through ‘the most challenging days’ of his life after the tragedy and went to the operating room at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital 23 times.
White Island guide Jake Milbank is in the picture with his dog on his first day out of the hospital since the eruption
Mr. Milbank said things are “finally starting to look up” after more than three months in the hospital
Mr. Milbank was allowed to leave the hospital and visit his dog on March 1 – the first time he’d been out in three months.
“After more than three long months in the hospital, things are finally starting to look up now that my medical team has cleared me for daytime leave,” he wrote in an Instagram update.
“The first thing on my list was to look at this little cutie that hasn’t seen me in a whopping 1.8 dog years.
“What a great feeling to be back in the real world and breathe some fresh air.”
Then Mr. Milbank thanked those who helped him during his recovery.
In a similar update to his Give a little On Wednesday, the 19-year-old said he could also spend the day celebrating his aunt’s birthday.
Milbank said he is getting stronger every day, despite the challenges he still faces.
“I’m fully inoculated now, which means my physique regimen is getting more and more intense as my skin grafts heal,” said the Give A Little update.
Jake Milbank (pictured) led a group of tourists when the volcano erupted off the coast of Whakatane in New Zealand on December 9
The blast claimed the lives of 21 people, including White Island Tours colleagues from Mr Milbank, Hayden-Marshall Inman and Tipene Maangi
“From running on the treadmill to pumping iron, we see improvements every day.
“I’m finally starting to gain weight and have lost three pounds in the past three weeks.”
His friends made an eight-hour round trip to the hospital from Whakatane almost every weekend, and colleagues from White Island Tours also visited.
“Words can’t even express how wonderful my family has been, they were so supportive, kept me company and brought me home cooked meals, I can’t thank them enough, ”he said.
“I look forward to spending more time out of the hospital and eventually being home with my friends and family, but at this stage we don’t know exactly when that could be.”
Mr. Milbank – whose fundraising page raised more than $ 140,000 – said his main focus is on the gym with his rehab team.
Fellow guide Kelsey Waghorn has also shared updates on her recovery from the fatal explosion.
The marine biologist suffered burns to 45 percent of her body and had to teach herself to walk.
Mr. Milbank (pictured on White Island) said his main focus is to go to the gym with his rehabilitation team