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15-Year-Old Lucky to be Alive

Steam Vent near Volcano House
Steam Vent near Volcano House where boy fell in.
NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

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News Release Date: April 11, 2013
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.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Glowing, reddish-orange lava flowing on the surface at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

Kīlauea Volcano has erupted lava almost continuously from its east rift zone since 1983. These lava flows have added about 500 acres of new land to the southern shore of Kīlauea and covered 8.7 miles (14 km) of highway with lava as deep as 115 feet (35 m). More...