A man is in critical condition after he fell into the caldera of one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the United States. The man fell 70 feet while trying to get a closer look at Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, the same volcano that erupted this time last year, destroying hundreds of homes in the process.
According to the National Park Service, on May 1, the man climbed over a permanent railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook so he could get a closer look at the caldera 300 feet below, lost his footing, and fell. He was found by rescuers about two-and-a-half hours later, “alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff edge.” CNN reports that he was with a group, which is why the emergency call came in instantly.
Per the NPS news release, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Chief Ranger John Broward said, “Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges. Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”
Kilauea erupted in May 2018 and spewed lava and ash for several months, destroying approximately 700 homes in the process and producing ” enough lava to cover a two-lane highway stretching from Boston to Seattle” with a 70-foot-high wall of lava, according to CBS News. And according to the New York Times, Kilauea has had continuous “eruptive activity” since 1983. Making it a poor candidate for sneaking up close to.
Officials have not yet determined whether or not the man will face any penalties for his actions.