32-Year-Old Soldier Falls 70 Feet Into Active Hawaiian Volcano — and Survives
The man was rescued Thursday night after climbing over a safety railing and falling into Kilauea volcano's caldera
A 32-year-old man was stuck on a ledge 70 feet into Kilauea volcano’s caldera for about three hours on Wednesday after climbing over a safety railing at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, park officials said.
The unnamed man climbed over a metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook, lost his footing and fell from a 300-foot cliff at the caldera around 6:30 p.m. local time, National Park Service officials said in a statement.
“Responders arrived quickly after and began a coordinated search and rescue of the area,” the statement read. “At approximately 9 p.m., the man was found alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff edge.”
Army officials told KGMB that the man is a Schofield Barracks soldier who was on the Big Island with a unit as part of a training mission. The ground began to give way after the man climbed over the railing, according to KGMB.
“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” Chief Ranger John Broward said in the statement. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”
Rescuers used ropes and a stokes litter to pull the man from the area, park officials said, and he was then airlifted to Hilo Medical Center. The man was in stable condition on Thursday, according to KGMB.
“He obviously is doing remarkably well for his fall,” Hawaii County Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch told the station. “Only time will tell what injuries he has.”
Officials said the last death in the park occurred in October 2017.
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The incident comes about a year after the Kilauea volcano’s decades-long eruption sent lava shooting up from the ground in a residential neighborhood. The burst came after hundreds of earthquakes rattled the area for days, with a magnitude 5.0 quake recorded shortly before the burst last year explosion, the Associated Press reported then.
The quakes were triggered after the Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse.
Kilauea’s Puu Oo cone initially erupted in 1983, and lava has continued to flow since, destroying homes in the ’80s, in 1990, and even in 2014, according to the New York Times.