13 injured after lava hits tour boat on Hawaii's Big Island

Wednesday, 18 Jul, 2018

The explosion injured 23 people, and four passengers were taken by ambulance to a hospital including a 20-year-old woman who is described as having a broken thigh and "major leg trauma".

"Of the three, two were in stable condition, one was in serious condition", Snyder said.

Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources said an investigation was underway, and would examine initial reports that the tour boat had strayed outside the US Coast Guard-established safety zone.

Officials say an explosion sent lava flying through the roof of a tour boat.

"We were headed east away from the flows", Turpin said in a text message. He added that Monday's incident is a reminder of how risky the eruption is and why officials have tried to keep the public at a safe distance.

Photos posted by Hawaii county officials showed a manhole cover-sized hole in the boat's metal roof. The ocean and aerial tours each cost about $250.

The current warning on the UK Foreign Office website advises: "There has been volcanic eruption on Hawaii's Big Island and some local residents have been evacuated".

Video which appears to have been taken by a passenger aboard the vessel hit by the lava explosion. "The amount of lava going into the ocean, the off-shore topography, are now producing these large, littoral explosions". That's because explosions occur much closer to the surface in such spots. The new island formed at the northernmost part of the ocean entry and is "oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline".

13 injured after lava hits tour boat on Hawaii's Big Island
13 injured after lava hits tour boat on Hawaii's Big Island

The volcano has also been pumping more lava into the water now compared to past years, Babb said.

Turpin, owner of Lava Ocean Tours, said he was well outside the zone at the time of the blast.

Lava from Kilauea has been spewing for more than a month, forcing evacuations. So far, more than 650 homes have been destroyed by lava, and molten rock now covers over 6,000 acres of land.

The ocean entry is a hazardous area.

"It is Mother Nature", Jones said.

On its website, the company said that "Lava Ocean Tours Big Island lava boat tours are an exciting way to experience the molten hot lava entering the sea".

Lava flowing into the Pacific is a spectacular sight, producing a foggy haze known in Hawaii as "laze".