Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Overflight & Update on Kīlauea Eruption

June 12, 2018, 9:41 AM HST (Updated June 12, 2018, 11:07 AM)

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Overflight & Kīlauea Eruption Update

NEW VIDEO: Meteorologist Malika Dudley flew over the East Rift Zone with residents who lost their homes to the lava. Today, an update on this ever-evolving eruption and a look at the human impact to a community in crisis. Mahalo to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for allowing us to be a part of bringing closure and peace of mind to Puna residents Kaiulani, Emily and Neekowee… keep an eye out for their individual stories as our Big Island Eruption series continues. for the latest on the #KilaueaEruption

Posted by on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Aloha, I’m Meteorologist Malika Dudley. We are with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters about to take an overflight of the East Rift Zone (June 11, 2018) with a couple residents who believe their homes have been lost to the lava.

Today we survey their properties for closure and peace of mind, but we start with an update on the status of the Kīlauea eruption.

It is day 40 with still no end in sight. Mayor Harry Kim said 600 to 700 homes have been taken, 410 residents are in shelters. Officials from Hawai‘i County Parks & Recreation are doing what they can to keep spirits high with a car show and Father’s Day event planned for this weekend.


At least one father is mourning the loss of future memories. Neekowee Clearwater was raised in Puna. His childhood home was taken by lava in Kalapana. On May 20, what he hoped would be their forever home, was also taken.

“The place was so perfect to grow up in,” he said. “Me being in a better position than my parents, I was really excited to be able to raise my kid there.”

Big Island girl Kaiulani Leialoha shares those same sentiments. She was raised in Leilani Estates in the home her father built.

“It’s kinda like my whole childhood is wiped out,” she said. “That’s not something I can share with my son later. I can’t take him to those beaches that we went to or even the street that I grew up on. It’s all gone.”

“He got pictures of the lava coming in right at the front gate and right at her mailbox and by that early evening it already went past her lot and it slowly went to her neighbor.”

Fissure 8 now consists of three closely spaced lava fountains. It is the longest producing fissure which continues to feed a channelized flow that reaches the ocean in the Kapoho Bay area.

Where Kapoho Bay once was, there’s a new lava delta now about 200 acres in size. At its widest, the lava channel from Fissure 8 is the length of six olympic sized pools. USGS scientists saying there’s no way of knowing when this eruption will end.

One thing that is certain, this community is resilient. Right now, twenty micro-units homes are going up in Pāhoa with plans for 30 more. Donations are pouring in from around the globe and here at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters every weekend this month they are doing $40 flights with 100% of proceeds Pu’uhonua O Puna.


Malika Dudley
Malika was born and raised in Hilo. She began her career in news at KGMB9 in 2007. As a part of their weather team, Malika was nominated for two Emmy Awards and won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Journalism Award for her reporting on Big Island tsunami damage in 2011. She is a Certified Meteorologist and graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BA in Speech Communication and French. Malika leads the Big Island Now weather team and enjoys conducting video interviews for Big Island Now's news and entertainment sections. The former Miss Hawaii is also a black belt in karate, avid waterwoman, jewelry designer, singer, TV host and mommy blogger.


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