A tourist in Hawaii fell into the most dangerous volcano in the entire United States, and somehow managed to survive.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, park officials believed that the unidentified man in his 30s had wanted to get a better look at the volcano, and had climbed over a metal safety railing to do so. He fell 60 to 70 feet down the crater, and ended up trapped on a narrow ledge partway down the crater’s mouth.
Besides the obvious threat from lava, volcanoes also spew hot air and toxic gases.
Part of what contributed to this man’s survival was the timing of his trip to the volcano. While not currently erupting, Kilauea is considered the most dangerous volcano in the United States. However, the volcano currently has “relatively low low rates of seismicity, deformation, and gas emission,” according to a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report from Tuesday.
This is the same volcano that erupted in 2018, destroying 700 homes and spewing enough lava to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to the New York Times.
In a news release, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said that rescue personnel “successfully completed a high-angle extrication using ropes and stokes litter and, with support from a Department of Defense helicopter, the man was airlifted to Hilo Medical Center for urgent care,”
According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, a less fortunate person died in this volcano in Oct. 29, 2017.
This somehow isn’t unprecedented
In 2008, a man fell between 1,500 and 2,000 feet into the crater of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. However, Mount St. Helens has not erupted since its infamous and deadly incident in 1980.
In 1985, a geologist was in “satisfactory condition,” according to the Los Angeles Times, after falling into thigh deep lava in the Kilauea Volcano. In this case, he was apparently saved by his heat-resistant suit.