A soldier visiting Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano this week was left “seriously injured” after falling from a cliff into the volcano’s caldera, officials said Wednesday.
Responders from the Hawai‘i County Fire Department and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park rangers were ultimately able to rescue the 32-year-old, who is based on the Big Island at Pohakuloa Training Area, who witnesses said had “lost his footing and fell from a 300 foot cliff at Kīlauea caldera” around 6:30 p.m., according to a news release from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
“The man had just climbed over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook to get closer to the cliff edge,” park officials said.
A search for the fallen man ensued and resulted in his rescue more than two hours later, according to the news release. He was found “on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff edge,” officials said. He was airlifted to receive medical treatment.
Officials issued a stern warning about the hazards of bypassing safety barriers, saying the results could be fatal.
“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” Chief Ranger John Broward said. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”
The United States Geological Survey defines a caldera on their website as “a large basin-shaped volcanic depression” that is “commonly formed when magma is withdrawn or erupted from a shallow underground magma reservoir.”