A 32-year-old soldier, trying to get a better view of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano, was seriously injured after he fell from a 300-foot cliff into the volcano crater.
According to a parks spokesman, the man climbed over a metal guard rail to get a better vantage point and then the ground collapsed beneath him.
Rescuers were able to climb down the inside of the volcano, where they found the man on a ledge 70 feet below the rim and with the help of a military helicopter, they attached him to a stretcher and he was airlifted him out of the crater.
He was flown to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition, but his condition has since been upgraded to stable.
Army officials say the man is a Schofield Barracks soldier who was on Hawaii’s Big Island for training exercises. An eyewitness saw him fall into the volcano around 6:30 PM. They notified authorities immediately.
John Broward, chief ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said in a statement,
“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges.”
Matthias Kusch, Hawaii County Fire Department battalion chief, told Hawaii News Now that the man is
“doing remarkably well for his fall. Only time will tell what injuries he has.”
Kilauea Volcano is one of the worlds most active volcanoes and last year it erupted for months, destroying around 700 homes with lava and ash.
I have several friends on the Big Island and the lava flow near Hilo from this volcano has been devastating. You wouldn’t catch a local climbing the guardrail, if they survived, they’d never live it down. Seeing this slow-moving monster –from a distance– is fascinating.
(Photo, YouTube; via NPR)