‘Lava Bomb’ Strikes Tourist Boat in Hawaii
Nearly two dozen sightseers were injured from a lava explosion that sent debris hurtling onto a tourist boat in Hawaii. Officials said one passenger suffered a broken leg and others were burned when the volcanic blast launched a “basketball-sized lava bomb” through the vessel’s roof.
At approximately 6 a.m. Monday, U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders in Honolulu received a report from 911 that sightseers and crewmembers aboard the tour boat Hot Shot had been injured near the Kilauea Volcano lava flow in Kapoho Bay.
The damaged vessel returned to Wailoa Harbor in Hilo where emergency medical services were waiting to treat the injured. The injuries range in severity with four taken by ambulance and the worst being a fractured femur, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said. Most of the injuries were superficial and treated on arrival at the harbor.
The Coast Guard is investigating the incident and has expanded the safety zone to extend out 300-meters around the lava flow.
Kilauea on the Island of Hawaii is among the world's most active volcanos and has been erupting almost continuously since the 1980s.
Hot Shot, operated by Lava Ocean Tours, is one of several in the area that takes tourists to witness lava flows up close. Tour boats have operated in the area going back at least 20 years.
In March 2017, the Coast Guard established a temporary safety zone in response to increased lava activity in the area. That zone was made permanent in May 2018.