'Lava bomb' from Hawaii volcano injures 23 on boat

Larry Hoffman
July 19, 2018

Jason Redulla, chief of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, said four companies have permits to operate in the area, including Lava Ocean Tours.

One passenger broke a leg while others suffered burns.

Officials have warned that getting too close to lava entering the ocean risks exposure to breathing in toxic fumes and even fine glass particles.

A hole, punched through the roof of a tourist boat, is seen, after lava from the Mount Kilauea volcano exploded in the sea off Kapoho, Hawaii, U.S. July 16, 2018.

Lava erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii's Big Island, on May 24, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii.

The lava punctured the boat's roof and it returned to Wailoa Harbor, the fire department said.

He didn't observe "any major explosions", so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 250 yards from the lava. So far, more than 650 homes have been destroyed by lava, and molten rock now covers over 6,000 acres of land. It prohibits vessels from getting closer than 984 feet from ocean-entry points. Kilauea was still erupting lava as of Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

"It was an explosion, basically", said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the county mayor, told the Tribune Herald newspaper.

Moku Nui Lava Tours Captain Kanoa Jones, whose boat was not involved in Monday's incident at Kilauea volcano, said not running the tours would only withhold income from local restaurants and other businesses dependent on tourism, he said.

Hawaii's tourist agency reassured visitors it was safe to see Kilauea and its lava, the Big Island's top attractions.

A huge steam-driven explosion sent a "lava bomb" crashing through the roof of the boat and into the vessel's seating area, authorities said.

The volcano is sending 26 times the amount of lava per second than it did during the 2016 and 2017 eruption.

He added that after the boat was hit, those in the tour group quickly pulled together to help one another.

The safety zone surrounds the lava flow and extends out 300-meters, although certain commercial and research vessels with licensed captains demonstrating experience operating in the region and carrying all required safety equipment were given special permission to approach up to 50 meters.

Officials were interviewing injured passengers at a hospital.

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