Soldier visiting Hawaii national park survives fall into active volcano

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By Ben Kesslen

A 32-year-old solider climbed over the permanent railing of an active volcano in Hawaii to get a closer look, fell in, and survived, authorities said.

The man, who is based on the Big Island at Pohakuloa Training Area, was visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Wednesday when he fell from a 300 foot cliff at Kilauea caldera‘s edge after losing his footing, the National Park Services said in a statement.

Luckily, about two and half hours after his fall, he was found on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff’s edge. Responders were able to rescue the tourist through a “high angle extraction” using ropes. He survived, but authorities said he was seriously injured and airlifted to Hilo Medical Center.

June 21, 201800:36

“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” Chief Ranger John Broward said in a statement. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”

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While Kilauea caldera is not currently erupting, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, it’s an active volcano that destroyed more than 700 homes on Hawaii’s Big Island in 2018.

While Volcanoes National Park hasn’t seen a death since 2017, it did close for more than four months last year after volcanic activity caused explosive eruptions, earthquakes and the collapse of the famed Halemaumau crater.


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