15-Year-Old Lucky to be Alive
Contact: Jessica Ferracane, 808-985-6018
Hawaii National Park, Hawai'i - A 15-year-old San Rafael, CA boy who fell 25 feet into a steaming earth crack at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Wednesday night was pulled to safety by Park Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel.
The Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park SAR team, and County of Hawai'i Fire crews based in the park, responded to a 911 call from the victim's mother at approximately 6:43 p.m. It was reported that the youth had attempted to leap over the protective railing surrounding a steam vent between Kīlauea Visitor Center and Volcano House.
Park SAR Coordinator John Broward, assisted by County Fire, rappelled into the deep, narrow, chimney-like crack and rescued the boy, who suffered a bump on his head and minor abrasions. His family declined further medical treatment, and he was released at the scene following assessment by County of Hawai'i responders.
"This young visitor and his family are extraordinarily lucky that he survived this mishap," Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. "This incident serves as a reminder that park visitors are urged to stay on trails and not engage in reckless behavior while visiting their national parks."
Rescues like this also put park staff and other first responders at risk, Orlando noted.
This is the seventh SAR mission conducted by park staff so far this year. Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.
Did You Know?
During the 1800's, vast quantities of fragrant sandalwood were the first major export of the Hawaiian Islands. The trade nearly caused the extinction of `iliahi or sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum).