INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY AFTER 22 PEOPLE HURT IN BOAT TOUR LAVA INCIDENT
News Release from DLNR July 16, 2018
At least 22 people on a Lava Ocean Tours vessel were injured this morning after an explosion sent lava through the roof of the boat’s passenger cabin. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) along with the Hawai‘i County Police Dept. are investigating the incident.
The tours depart from the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor. Prior to the beginning of the East Rift Zone Eruption event, tours left from the Pohoiki Boat Ramp, which now is within ½ mile of the active ocean entrance.
DOCARE officers are now in the process of interviewing injured passengers at the Hilo Medical Center. In initial reporting passengers say the vessel was outside of the U.S. Coast Guard-established safety zone. Along with first responders both state and county officers were at the Wailoa ramp when the boat returned after the incident. A 20-year old woman received major trauma to her leg and the others suffered burns and scrapes.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “DLNR sends its wishes for full and speedy recovery to all of those involved.”