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VIDEO: Morning of Lava Boat Accident

July 17, 2018, 10:23 PM HST
* Updated July 18, 8:31 AM
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Videographer Mick Kalber released this video of an overflight of the East Rift Zone he took with Paradise Helicopters on Monday, July 16, 2018.

Kalber stated:

Upon our arrival at the LERZ eruption site, we went immediately to Fissure 8. The boat accident had apparently already happened.

Lava was surging as usual, with waves of lava coursing out of the vent.

The fissure sends hot liquid rock into the channel below, which feeds the ocean entries, the largest at Ahalanui, the scene of the littoral explosion.

When the hot lava interacted with the cold seawater, it flashed into steam, causing an explosion sending hot rock several hundred feet into the air. The injured passengers aboard the Lava Ocean Tours boat on it’s early morning trip were taken to Hilo for medical treatment. The tour boats were gone from the ocean entry by the time we arrived there around 6:30 a.m.

The braided channel of the lava river has lost one of its tributaries, forcing lava down one side, this may create more overflows over the next few days downslope near Kapoho Crater.

The newly created island continues to grow off the eastern coast near what was once Kapoho Bay.

Upwellings of lava below the sea created the small island, which is now a peninsula, as a black sand beach has connected it to Hawai‘i Island. Just five days ago, Ahalanui Beach Park (Hot Pond) and Kua O Ka La Charter School were covered by lava from the current LERZ eruption of Kīlauea volcano. Pele’s newly created ocean entry is just a half-mile from Pohoiki.

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