Ns News Online Desk: Hawaiian man was struck by chunks of lava as he stood on his third-floor balcony on the Big Island over the weekend, the first reported injury since a volcano there began shaking and sputtering almost three weeks ago.
Hawaiian officials said the victim was a homeowner in the Pahoa neighborhood – which lays near the Kilauea volcano — and his leg was shattered from his shin to his foot when the lava sprayed him.
Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, said lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator, and even small pieces of spatter can kill.”
The injury came the same day boiling hot lava streamed across a highway and flowed into the ocean.
President Trump has declared the area a disaster.
The highway on the Big Island has shut down in some spots, and thousands of residents have been evacuated.Scientists say they have no clue if the volcano will calm down on its own. They said hotter and quicker lava flows are being created as fresh magma mixes with decades-old magma, and two fissures had merged Saturday, creating a flow that’s moving up to 300 yards per hour.
“We have no way of knowing whether this is really the beginning or toward the end of this eruption,” Tom Shea, a volcanologist at the University of Hawaii, told The Associated Press.
“We’re kind of all right now in this world of uncertainty.”
Farmer Edwin Montoya, who lives with his daughter near where lava crossed a roadway and trapped a handful of people Friday, said he saw a fissure open.
“It was just a little crack in the ground, with a little lava coming out,” he said. “Now it’s a big crater that opened up where the small little crack in the ground was.”
Officials say the islands, however, are still open to tourists and that no flights — even on the Big Island — have been canceled.