An active volcano in Hawaii exploded, and when its lava interacted with the water, it sent a basketball-sized "lava bomb" that teared through the roof of a sightseeing boat and injured 23 people, according to officials.
The boat, filled with sightseers who wanted to watch lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano into Hawaii's ocean, was off the island's eastern coast on July 16 when the volcano shot out the lava bomb and burned through the boat's canopy, which was made of metal. According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, a 23-year-old woman was seriously injured after fracturing her femur, while four of the 23 hurt were taken by ambulances to the Hilo Medical Center immediately following the incident.
"Most of the injured passengers had superficial injuries and were treated on arrival at Wailoa Harbor in Hilo," said a Hawaii County official in a statement.
Lava Bomb Melts Hole On Top Of Boat
The Washington Post confirms the boat belongs to the Lava Ocean Tours company, which offers lava boat tours that cost between $225 and $250.
"See, Hear & Feel the heat from your front row seat onboard one of our world class catamarans," according to the Lava Ocean Tours website.
The volcanic explosion was captured on video by a tourist on a nearby boat, showing the volcanic eruption causing lava to land on water, which then exploded and sent a lava bomb flying toward the boat, which pierced through the roof of the boat tour. Photos of the aftermath show debris from the explosion peppered all throughout the floor of the vessel.
Eyewitnesses claim the lava bomb landed on several people, including passengers and crew members, as Hawaii News Now reports.
Should You Go On A Lava Tour?
Visiting the ocean for lava sightseeing sounds like an incredibly exciting trip, but just note that in addition to lava bombs, the ocean entry point is also producing noxious gases and hazardous shards of volcanic glass that can irritate lungs. For those who intend to visit Hawaii for the above-mentioned activities, make sure to practice caution, as these situations, especially the lava bomb incident, could be deadly.
Volcanologist Wendy Stovall told USA Today that lava bombs can result from the interaction between lava and the ocean, as water is converted into steam and causes the lava to explode.
Volcanic Eruptions In Hawaii
The volcano's eruption in Hawaii has been a persistent emergency since May, sending thousands of residents from their homes and destroying hundreds of structures. It just goes to show the sheer power — and chaos — of mother nature.