Lava Spatter Crushes Man's Leg in First Known Injury from Hawaii Volcano: 'Small Pieces Can Kill'
The man was reportedly on a balcony when he was struck by lava spatter, shattering his leg in the first known injury related to the Kilauea volcano
Lava spatter from one of the Kilauea volcano’s many explosive flows struck a man and shattered his leg in the first known injury since the heightened volcanic activity began on May 3, according to reports.
The man, who lives on Noni Farms Road in Pahoa, was on a third-floor balcony when he was struck by a piece of lava spatter, a spokesperson for the Hawaii County mayor’s office told Reuters on Saturday.
The spatter crushed his leg from his shin to his foot, and the spokesperson said that lava spatter “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill.”
The man was rushed to a local hospital, reported ABC News. No other information on the incident was immediately available.
It has been more than two weeks since the volcano’s initial burst sent lava shooting up from the ground — and residents running from their Leilani Estates homes on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Over 2,000 Hawaii residents have been ordered to evacuate as the island has seen numerous fissures, CBS News reported. On Sunday, a large crack opened near the ocean, swallowing the lava into the ground, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Dozens of homes have been destroyed by the lava flows, USA Today reported. Authorities have warned Hawaii residents to avoid lava streams that flow into the ocean, according to the publication. When mixed with cool sea water, the lava produces an acid steam called “laze” into the air.
“Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation,” officials told residents, according to USA Today. “Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.”
Last week, the 17th fissure split the earth near Leilani Estates, CNN reported at the time. The massive fissure is several hundred yards long and has caused “lava fountaining, explosion of spatter bombs hundreds of feet into the air, and several advancing lava flow lobes moving generally northeast,” the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.
Footage of the 18th fissure, which also opened last week, showed lava bubbling above trees.
The initial burst came after hundreds of earthquakes rattled the area for days, with a magnitude 5.0 quake recorded shortly before the explosion earlier this month, according to the Associated Press. The quakes were triggered after the Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse just days earlier.