A lava explosion from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano strikes a tour boat and injures nearly two dozen people.
A Hawaii tour boat was struck by a so-called lava bomb from the Kilauea Volcano on Monday (July 16).
It injured nearly two dozen people, the worst incident since the volcano began erupting in May.
A huge explosion caused by molten rock mixing with seawater sent a blob of lava crashing into the boat.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) IKAIKA KALAMA, WHO WITNESSED THE BOMBARDMENT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN ADJACENT TOUR BOAT, SAYING:
“Some actually exploded about 300 yards in the air. Part of the lava actually landed on the vessel, damaged most parts of the vessel. From what I heard, actually, a big chunk fell through the roof and partly on passengers.”
According to officials, one woman’s leg was broken when the lava fell through the seating area.
Officials said some of the injured were taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Hilo.
The boat was reportedly operated by Lava Ocean Tours, offering passengers a chance to “see, hear, and feel” lava entering the sea at over $200 dollars a ticket.
It’s unclear how far the boat – named Hot Spot – was from the volcano.
U.S. Coast Guard rules forbid boats from getting closer than 300 yards to lava ocean entries,however some experienced operators are allowed as close as 50 yards.
After Monday’s incident, an agency official said the Coast Guard would allow boats no further than the wider, 300-yard zone.