The man was found with serious injuries on a ledge some 20 metres down the cliff. (AP: Kevan Kamibayashi)
A man was left with serious injuries when he fell into a Hawaiian volcano after climbing over a railing for a better view.
- The man lost his footing and tumbled about 20 metres into the crater
- It took about an hour to rescue the man, who was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries
- Kilauea was the site of serious volcanic activity last May, which resulted in roughly $US236.5 million in damages
The man was hiking with a group on a cliff edge of the Kilauea Volcano caldera on Hawaii’s Big Island on Wednesday evening.
“He climbed over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Buff overlook to get closer to the cliff edge,” a Hawaii Fire Fighters Association spokesperson said on Facebook.
“The man lost his footing and fell from a [90 metre] cliff and responders, upon arrival, began a coordinated search-and-rescue of the area.
“At approximately 9:00pm, the man was found alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about [20 metres] down from the edge.”
US National Park Service spokesman Ben Hayes told CNN it took about an hour to retrieve the man.
The man, whose identity has not been revealed, was later airlifted to the Hilo Medical Centre for treatment.
The rescue came one year after destructive volcanic activity at Kilauea, which erupted on May 3, 2018 and saw lava flowing over the streets of nearby neighbourhoods.
This saw a collapse of the Kilauea summit, with the crater almost doubling in size.
According to the US Geological Survey, enough lava erupted to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, creating more than 350 hectares of new land along the island’s shoreline.
Hawaii Volcanoes NPS: “Violent earthquakes and the deafening roar of collapsing ground no longer reverberate and echo across a vast and growing caldera chasm.”
More than 700 buildings were destroyed by volcanic activity, which displaced about 3,000 people and caused an estimated $US236.5 million ($338 million) in damages to roads, waterlines and public facilities.
Kilauea is considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes, but the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s most recent update says there were no signs of it erupting and classified it with the safest rating.
Tweet from Hawaii Volcanoes NPS: “As the 1-year mark of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption nears, we are happy to report that most of the park is now open…”
“Despite this classification, Kilauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again,” the update said.
“Although we expect clear signs prior to a return to eruption, the time frame of warning may be short.”
In light of the rescue, park rangers reminded visitors to stay behind safety barriers, warning that failing to do so could result in death.
Mr Hayes said rangers were investigating whether the man would face any charges for ignoring safety advice.
A photo from May 19, 2018, shows lava flowing from fissures near Pahoa after the Kilauea eruption. (AP: US Geological Survey)
Less than a week ago, a dog called Kane had to be rescued from the same volcano after wandering into a steaming earth crack along the rim of the peak.
“Luckily, one of our dog-loving rangers was nearby, and she rescued Kane quickly,” a Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park spokesperson said on Facebook.
“The hot temperature in the thermal crack caused him to overheat, he was bleeding from his nostrils, and had lacerations to his paws but he was able to walk and drink water immediately following his ordeal.”
Facebook post from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park: “Meet Kane, a 70-pound dog who was rescued after he wandered into a narrow, steaming earth crack on the rim of Kīlauea Volcano last Friday.”