Lava explosion injures dozens of Hawaiian boat tour

FILE: Lava flowing into the ocean in the near Pahoa, Hawaii. Officials say that an explosion sent lava flying through the roof of a boat.


At least 23 people were injured on Monday, Hawaii’s Big Island after an explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean, sent molten rocks crashing through the roof of a canal boat, the officials said.

The injured were on a tour boat that shows the location of visitors to lava plunging into the ocean of the active Kilauea volcano that has been shooting lava for the past two months.

The U. S. Geological Survey geologist Janet Babb explained that the explosions occur when the 2,000 degree (1,093 degree Celsius) lava is cold seawater. Some of the explosions can be so small they are scarcely visible, but, in certain circumstances, the large explosions can happen that the sending molten rock and other debris in the air.

Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Sent Lava Bomb on The Kalapana Cultural Tours Boat, Injuring 23 People on

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The lava has penetrated to the boat of the roof and left a hole, according to the fire department. A woman in her 20s, is reportedly in a serious condition, such as the incident broke her femur. She was transported to Honolulu for treatment, the officials said.

Twenty-two other people suffered scrapes and burns, and 12 of them received further treatments, but have since been released.

Shane Turpin, owner and captain of the boat, said that this was the first time he saw the explosion caused a rain of molten rocks at the top of his boot. He didn’t see the “big explosions” before moving the boat closer to the lava.

“As we were leaving the zone, all of a sudden everything around us exploded,” he said. “It was everywhere.”

The captain of the ship had no awareness of the extent of the explosion until he saw the video later. “It was huge,” he said. “I had no idea. We didn’t see.”

Damage can be seen on the roof of a tour boat after an explosion sent lava flying through the roof of the Big Island of Hawaii.

(Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources via AP)

Turpin praised the people caught in the incident and visited a woman who was injured. “They are incredible people,” he said of the woman and her family, that a visit to the island. “Just really good people.”

“What I saw in humanity this morning was awesome. I mean, this was a group of people who had never met, and they were brought together,” he added. “In all honesty, we have definitely evaded a catastrophic event today.”

Officials are warning of the risks of being close to the entry of lava into the ocean. But despite the warnings, several companies operate the tours so that visitors can see the lava explosions with their own eyes.

The U. S. Coast Guard in May created a safety zone where the lava enters the ocean from the Big Island, the ban the ships from entering closer than 984 feet (300 meters) of the ocean, the points of entry.

The measure allows exemptions for the experience of shipowners who, if granted the exemption, you can get up to 164 feet (50 metres) from where lava flows into the ocean.

Since May, Kilauea volcano has been demolished more than 700 homes after entering a new active phase. There are no serious reported, except for a man who broke his leg after he is hit by flying lava.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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