Kilauea Explosion Hurls 'Lava Bombs' At Tour Boat; 23 Hurt
May 19, 2020
LEILANI ESTATES, HI — Nearly two dozen people on a lava tour boat in Hawaii were hurt — one seriously — when an explosion hurled “lava bombs and debris” onto the boat.
“A basketball-sized lava bomb punctured the vessel’s roof, and explosion debris littered the floor of the boat,” the Hawaii County Civil defense Agency wrote in a tweet.
It happened early Monday. Twenty-three people on the boat were injured “when an explosion at the ocean entry hurled lava bombs and debris onto their boat,” the agency said. The Fire Department said one of the railings of the boat was also damaged.
A woman in her 20s suffered serious injuries, including a broken femur. Others suffered burns and scrapes.
“Most other injuries were superficial,” the agency said.
Video taken at the scene showed a powerful explosion near Leilani Estates. The footage was reportedly taken by someone from crew members aboard the Kalapana Cultural Tours lava boat.
Photos posted on Twitter showed a gaping hole ripped into the roof of the boat. Black ash covered the vessel’s roof and deck.
The boat was able to return to Wailoa Harbor in Hilo around 7 a.m., officials told Patch in a statement.
Early Monday morning, 23 people on a lava tour boat were injured when an explosion at the ocean entry hurled lava bombs and debris onto their boat. 4 passengers taken by ambulance to the hospital, one seriously injured with a fractured femur. Most other injuries were superficial. pic.twitter.com/zo7X1Hx47M — COH Civil Defense (@CivilDefenseHI) July 16, 2018
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said it is investigating with county police. Investigators are questioning injured passengers at Hilo Medical Center.
“In initial reporting passengers say the vessel was outside of the U.S. Coast Guard-established safety zone,” the department said.
Agency Chair Suzanne Case said it “sends its wishes for full and speedy recovery to all of those involved.”
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano UPDATE: Unbelievable footage from #IkaikaMarzo’s crew on board the #KalapanaCulturalTours #lava boat captures the #lavaexplosion that sent #lavabombs flying onto a tour boat, injuring 12 people https://t.co/h193ZfuIRP @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/cvYg0CLDUk — Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) July 16, 2018
The exact location of the incident wasn’t immediately clear, nor was the precise time of the incident, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department. The total number of passengers on board remains unclear.
Hilo Medical Center has confirmed 13 people were treated at the hospital. Another 10 were treated on arrival at Wailoa Harbor with superficial injuries.
Three passengers were in stable condition. Nine passengers drove themselves to the hospital.
The Kilauea volcano has been spewing lava since initially erupting May 3.
On Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey issued an alert saying the volcano was under its “warning/orange” advisory, meaning a “major volcano eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.”
Photo credit: Hawaii DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources)