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Man Seriously Injured After Falling From Cliff Into Kilauea Volcano Caldera

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A man fell from a cliff into the caldera of Mt. Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island. The man was rescued by park rangers, but he was seriously injured.

Accident At Kilauea

According to officials of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the 32-year-old victim, whose name was not disclosed, is an active soldier of the U.S. Army. He was joining a field training at the Pohakuloa Training Area.

At around 6:30 p.m. on May 1, the man fell from a 300-foot cliff after climbing over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook. He was trying to get closer to the edge of the caldera when he lost his footing and fell.

Responders arrived at the area and immediately began a coordinated search-and-rescue operation. Rescue personnel from the Hawaii County Fire Department found the man alive on a narrow ledge at around 9 p.m. The man was extracted from the ledge some 70 feet below using ropes, stokes litter, and a helicopter provided by the Department of Defense. The injured man was immediately airlifted to the Hilo Medical Center for emergency medical assistance.

A Volcano's Caldera

A caldera is a cauldron-shaped feature resembling a volcanic crater. It is formed by the emptying of the magma chamber beneath the volcano as the result of a large volcanic eruption.

Officials warned the public against crossing safety barriers inside the park. The last fatal accident that happened in the national park was on Oct. 29, 2017.

"Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges," said John Broward, a chief ranger from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He added that crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and even death.

The last recorded eruption of Mt. Kilauea volcano was in May 2018 after a magnitude-5.0 quake struck the Big Island. The series of eruptions resulted in widespread mandatory evacuations in areas surrounding the volcano. Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This shield-type volcano makes up the southeastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii

The summit caldera of the volcano contains a lava lake known as Halema'uma'u that is believed to be the home of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. Kilauea has had more than 60 recorded eruptions and has been erupting on a regular basis since 1983.

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