WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man survived a 70-foot fall into the Kilauea volcano caldera on Wednesday after he climbed over a guard rail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
- The 32-year-old unidentified man is a soldier posted at the Army’s Schofield Barracks who was in the vicinity for a training mission.
- The ground crumbled beneath the man’s feet which caused him to plunge down but a ledge stopped his fall into the crater, according to witnesses.
An unidentified US soldier was critically injured after falling 70 feet (21 meters) into the Kilauea volcano caldera in Hawaii on Wednesday, according to parks officials.
The 32-year-old man was rescued by park rangers of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park who said the soldier climbed over a metal guard rail overlooking the Kilauea caldera.
The soldier fell after the ground crumbled away beneath his feet, which immediately caused his plunge, witnesses said. Fortunately, his plummet into the crater was prevented by a ledge he landed on.
The soldier was part of a group who had stopped at the Steaming Bluff overlook around 18:30 local time on Wednesday, the BBC reports.
In a statement issued by the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park officials, they said that “At approximately 21:00 [local time], 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,” the officials said.
The victim’s condition was reportedly changed from critical to stable on Thursday.
According to army officials, the soldier is from the Schofield Barracks who had been on Big Island as part of a training mission.
Park visitors are warned by Chief Ranger John Broward to never cross safety barriers, “especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges.”
The Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Last year’s eruption destroyed an estimated 700 homes across nearly 14 square miles (22 sq/km). The last fatality was reported in October 2017.
Kilauea Volcano “ranks among the world’s most active volcanoes and may even top the list,” according to the United States Geological Survey. Since 1983, it has been in a near constant state of eruption.