Guide Dies During Lava Tour

February 1, 2018, 6:48 PM HST (Updated February 1, 2018, 7:04 PM)

NPS File photo.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reports that one person passed away and three others were injured in the Kalapana Chain Of Craters Road area of the Big Island near the Kalapana lava viewing area near Royal Gardens.

HFD reports that four people were overcome by a noxious steam cloud while on a guided hiking tour near the lava flow.

While on their tour, it rained, which created a noxious steam cloud that quickly surrounded them, affecting their vision and breathing.

The initial HFD call came in as four persons trapped in a noxious steam cloud.


The guide succumbed to the noxious effects of the cloud, while the other three people escaped.

The first unit on scene was Chopper 1 and they located the three people in a safe area.

Chopper 1 found the tour guide unresponsive in another location. He was air lifted to an awaiting ambulance crew.

After physical examination, it was determined that the victim was deceased.

Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 airlifted the three other people to safety; they sustained minor injuries and denied any further EMS services.


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