An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent molten rock crashing through the roof of a sightseeing boat off Hawaii’s Big Island, injuring 23 people Monday, officials said.
They were aboard a tour boat that takes visitors to see lava plunging into the ocean from the long-erupting Kilauea volcano that has been vigorously shooting lava from a new vent in the ground for the past two months.
The US Geological Survey says explosions of varying sizes happen whenever 2,000-degree (1,093-degree Celsius) lava enters much colder seawater. Some of those explosions can be so tiny they are hard to see. But when the conditions are just right, much larger explosions send molten rock and other debris high into the air, according to USGS geologist Janet Babb.
The lava punctured the boat’s roof, leaving a gaping hole, firefighters said.
A woman in her 20s was in serious condition with a broken thigh bone, the Hawaii County Fire Department said. She was transported to Honolulu for further treatment, said Hilo Medical Center spokeswoman Elena Cabatu.
Twenty-two others suffered burns and scrapes, including 12 that were treated at the Hilo hospital and released.
Shane Turpin, the owner and captain of the vessel that was hit, said he never saw the explosion that rained molten rock down on top of his boat.
News credit : Indiatoday