A tourist has fallen 20 metres into the crater of the Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Picture: HVCB Anthony Keane
A tourist has fallen 20 metres into the crater of the Kilauea volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Picture: HVCB Anthony Keane

Horror as man falls into volcano

A tourist visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has lost his footing and fallen into the crater of the Kilauea volcano.

According to Ben Hayes, spokesman with the National Park Service, the man climbed past the metal railing before falling 20 metres into the crater. Mr Hayes said the man had fallen into the caldera, which had been formed by previous volcanic activity.

"He had crossed over a metal railing to get closer to the cliff edge, where he lost his footing and fell in," Hayes told CNN.

"Park officials immediately launched a search and rescue operation with the Hawaii County Fire Department, and around 9pm local time, search and rescue located the man. He was seriously injured, perched on a narrow ledge 70 feet from the cliff edge."

The horror fall occurred on the one-year anniversary of Kilauea erupting in May 2018, sending lava into residential communities on Hawaii Island.

The eruption displaced about 2000 people and claimed more than 700 homes in the Puna area of the Big Island. Many of the residents are still recovering.

Mr Hayes said "visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially near the caldera's ridge". "It's still a very dynamic area following last year's activity," he said.

It is understood officials began an operation to rescue the man, including the use of a rope system to extract him from the ledge. The man, who is yet to be identified, was transported to an open area of the park and flown to Hilo Medical Centre, where he was treated for his injuries.

"He was rescued in about an hour," Mr Hayes said, adding rangers will complete an investigation to determine whether he will be charged.



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