The boat was able to return to its port in Hilo less than an hour later, and three of the injured were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, Okinaka said
A blob of hot volcanic lava struck an ocean tour boat just off the Big Island of Hawaii on Monday, injuring at least 22 people in the worst casualty incident to date from the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano, fire officials said.
One woman’s leg was broken when the “lava bomb,” which spattered out of the water with explosive force nearby as molten rock poured into the ocean, landed on the roof of the vessel and crashed into the seating area, said Hawaii County Fire Department Battalion Chief Darwin Okinaka.
The boat was able to return to its port in Hilo less than an hour later, and three of the injured were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, Okinaka said. At least nine others with less severe injuries were driven to the hospital by private vehicle, and 10 more people were treated by paramedics at the port, he told Reuters by telephone.
State and local police and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources were investigating the incident, which occurred shortly after dawn near the eastern-most edge of the Big Island, where lava from the 10-week-old Kilauea eruption has been flowing into the Pacific since early June.
Two entire housing developments consisting of hundreds of dwellings were destroyed several weeks ago as lava spewing from a fissure on the slope of the volcano inundated the Kapoho area. Hundreds more homes have been swallowed closer to the eruption site itself.
The property losses marked the most destructive eruption of Kilauea in modern times, but no fatalities have been reported.
The most serious previous injury was of a man whose leg was shattered in May when he was hit by molten lava ejected by a volcanic fissure while he was standing on the third-floor balcony of his home about 200 yards (meters) from a flow in the Pahoa area.
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