'Lava bomb' from Hawaii volcano injures 23 on boat

PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES - A projectile from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii struck a boat carrying people watching lava from the two-month-old eruption, injuring 23, the fire department said.

Thirteen of them required hospitalisation and the rest were treated at a harbour when the boat engaged in a "lava tour" returned to the Big Island, also known as Hawaii.

Lava flowing into the Pacific is a spectacular sight, producing a foggy haze known in Hawaii as "laze." One woman was in serious condition with a fractured femur.

The total number of people on the boat was not immediately known, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.

In the early morning incident a "lava bomb" punctured the roof of the boat and damaged a railing, the department said. It gave no further details.

"It was an explosion, basically," said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the county mayor, told the Tribune Herald newspaper. "It punctured a hole right through the roof of the boat."

She described the boat as "covered with lava."

The boat's damaged roof after a projectile from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii struck the vessel carrying people watching lava from the two-month-old eruption.Photo: AFP

The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on May 3.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and one of five on the island.

One of the most active fissures, number 8, continues to erupt and its lava has formed a small "island" a few meters from the coast, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

It is very likely that it is part of the flow of fissure 8 that is entering the ocean, the USGS says.

Lava has engulfed an area of about 20 sq km since the volcano began erupting.

Scientists believe that volcanic activity can be a precursor to a major eruption, similar to a Kilauea eruption in the mid-1920s.

Thousands of Hawaiians forced to flee Kilauea volcano eruptions

  • Hawaiians forced to flee repeated eruptions of the Kilauea volcano, which has already destroyed 26 homes as it spews rivers of lava and fountains of toxic gases into residential areas,
  • were allowed to make a quick visits home on Sunday (May 6) to rescue pets, medication and other essentials.
  • More lava fissures and vents opened overnight in the Leilani Estates area, where lava leapt up to 70 metres into the air, but no new explosions were reported on Sunday from Kilauea, the state's most active volcano.
  • So far, no fatalities or major injuries have been reported from the volcano, which began erupting on Thursday, but at least 26 homes have been destroyed, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defence Agency.
  • The south-east corner of the island was rocked by a powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake on the volcano's south flank on Friday, the strongest tremor since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions were forecast, perhaps for months to come.
  • Although no significant lava flows have yet formed, additional outbreaks of lava, which can reach temperatures of about 1,150 degrees Celsius, were expected.
  • A line of vechicles head for the intersection of Pahoa and Kapoho Roads as evacuees are allowed to return to their Leilani Estates homes to gather belongings
  • Carolyn McNamara, 70, talks with her neighbour, Paul Campbell, 68, at an evacuation center in Pahoa after moving out of their homes
  • Evacuee Stacy Welch checks her phone using an earthquake monitoring app on Hawaii's Big Island
  • Maurice Messina from the Parks and Recreation Department receives supplies donated to evacuees by local residents at te Pahoa Community Center in Pahoa
  • Ron McLain, 58, watches as his husband, Michael Berry, 68, offers water to their dog at an evacuation center in Pahoa after moving out of their hom
  • A volunteer delivers pet supplies to an evacuation center in Pahoa
  • Dr. Tim Richards, a longtime veterinarian on the island and County Councilman checks on evacuee Andrew Linne's dog Scotty at the Pahoa Community Center in Pahoa
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