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. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Handout via REUTERS
REUTERS – A fusillade of volcanic lava struck an ocean tour boat just off the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday (July 16), injuring at least 22 people in the worst casualty incident to date from the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano.
One woman’s leg was broken when the “lava bomb” landed on the roof of the vessel and crashed into the seating area, said Hawaii County Fire Department Battalion Chief Darwin Okinaka.
“You have seen parts of the lava on the vessel when we pulled up to it. There’s a few big chunks that was on the roof and we could see chunks laying all over the side of the boat and on the floor of the boat,” said Ikaika Kalama who witnessed the bombardment from the adjacent ferry boat.
“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,” she added.
Kilauea volcano has shown no signs of quieting since it first began erupting on May 3. Lava spewing from “Fissure 8” has wiped out scores of homes in Kapoho by the Pacific and filled Kapoho Bay with lava.
Even though lava tourism has long existed on Hawaii’s Big Island, tour boat operators have report increased demand from tourists eager to witness the latest eruption of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Visitor numbers spike each time Kilauea, which has erupted almost continuously since 1983, sends a tongue of lava toward the ocean. The current eruption is one of the longest and most intense on record.