HFD Rescues Man From Volcano Caldera

May 2, 2019, 11:16 AM HST (Updated May 2, 2019, 11:28 AM)
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The Hawai‘i Fire Department responded to the steam vents at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, at 6:50 p.m.

Upon arrival, a HVNP Ranger on the scene said a male party in his 30s went over the railing at the edge of the caldera when the ground gave way and he fell down the face of the cliff.

HVNP and HFD personnel worked together to find and then extricate the male who had gone beyond the safety railing at the NVNP ‘Steam Vents’ lookout. The caldera floor is more than 300 feet down, but the victim fell on a small ledge roughly 60 feet from the top.

Rescue personnel worked together to extricate the victim in a stokes stretcher utilizing a rope raising system; once back on top, he was transported to Hilo Medical Center utilizing a military blackhawk.

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The patient was in critical condition: there were no injuries to HVNP or HFD personnel.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park released the following statement:

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park rangers and rescue personnel from Hawai‘i County Fire Department rescued a man who had fallen into Kīlauea caldera late this evening.

Earlier, at about 6:30 p.m., visitors reported that a man lost his footing and fell from a 300 foot cliff at Kīlauea caldera. The man had just climbed over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook to get closer to the cliff edge. Responders arrived quickly after and began a coordinated search and rescue of the area. At approximately 9 pm, the man was found alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff edge. Rescue personnel successfully completed a high angle extrication using ropes and stokes litter and, with support from a Department of Defense helicopter, the man was airlifted to Hilo Medical Center for urgent care.

“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”

The last fall fatality in the park occurred on October 29, 2017.

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