Volcanic 'lava bomb' injures 23 on tour boat in Hawaii

Frederick Owens
July 20, 2018

Two of those passengers are in stable condition, but the third, a woman in her 20s, was listed in serious condition with a fractured femur.

Shane Turpin, the owner and captain of the boat Hot Spot, said: 'As we were exiting the zone, all of a sudden everything around us exploded. The safety zone encompasses all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) around all ocean-entry points.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crew first noticed the new island during a Friday morning flight, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The agency said the lava island is about six to nine metres in diameter and likely formed as a result of a lava flow that has reached the ocean and possibly an underwater tumulus, a submarine lava flow that's pushed to the surface as result of underwater pressure.

"If we stop operating, it not only hurts us, it hurts the community", Jones said.

Hawaii fires volcano eruption
AFP GETTYHawaii volcano eruption As Kilauea rages brush fires have broken out

The U.S. Geological Survey says explosions of varying sizes occur whenever 2,000-degree (1,093-degree Celsius) lava enters much colder seawater. The active eruption site is sending as much as 100 cubic meters of lava per second snaking down to the sea.

"Today's unfortunate event is a good reminder about the risks involved with observing a natural wonder like this one and the reason officials are continuously monitoring the eruption to ensure the public is kept at safe distances on land, in the air and while at sea", Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.

Officials have warned of the danger of getting close to lava entering the ocean, saying the interaction can create clouds of acid and fine glass.

Experienced operators had been granted licences to get as close as 50 yards but these were withdrawn after Monday's accident.

As one of the youngest and most active volcanoes in the world, the Kilauea Volcano has been erupting almost continuously since early May.

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