23 injured as Hawaii volcano eruption hits tour boat

New Island Of Lava Growing Off The Coast Of Hawaiian Island

New Island Of Lava Growing Off The Coast Of Hawaiian Island

23 people were injured when lava was hurled into a boat touring the Kilauea lava flow on Hawaii's Big Island on Monday. Kilauea was still erupting lava as of Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Ikaika Marzo, president of Kalapana Cultural Tours, witnessed Monday's explosion from a nearby tour boat. Clearly, though, accidents can happen when things are more unpredictable.

Molten rock running into the ocean exploded and threw chunks of lava onto the Lava Ocean Tours boat, smashing a basketball-size hole through the boat's roof and raining smaller rocks onto the decking. But until now, the only serious injury was to a man who was hit by flying lava that broke his leg. It has destroyed more than 700 homes since then.

Hawaii lava tour boats faced tighter restrictions on Tuesday after 23 passengers were injured by a volcanic explosion, as authorities investigated whether a vessel hit by "lava bombs" went too close to molten rock oozing into the Ocean.

Channelized lava emerges on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on Hawaii.

A small "island of lava" has popped up near Kilauea in Hawaii, as US authorities continue to monitor activity at the volcano. The U.S. Coast Guard also said in a press release that the safety zone now stands at 300 meters, of 984 feet, from an ocean entry, with no exclusions.

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Officials have warned that getting too close to lava entering the ocean risks exposure to breathing in toxic fumes and even fine glass particles.

The tour boat was one of several that take visitors to see lava pouring into the ocean from the volcano. The Coast Guard said tour vessels have operated in the area going back at least 20 years.

The observatory added that the tiny island is likely part of the flow from fissure number eight, which is entering the ocean.

Hilo Medical Center confirmed 13 passengers were treated at the hospital, and another 10 passengers with superficial injuries were treated on arrival at Wailoa Harbor. The lava bomb, explained the post, came through the roof of the boat, and also damaged a railing.

Monday's accident prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to require boat captains to stay at least 300 meters (yards) from lava flowing from fissures in the volcano flank.

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