A Hawaiian man’s leg was shattered when a flying piece of molten rock flew onto his third-floor balcony, shattering his leg from the shin down.
It’s the first serious injury since volcanic activity disrupted life on Big Island more than two weeks ago, forcing thousands of residents out of their home because of lava-spewing cracks in the Earth.
The man was sitting on his balcony in Pahoa when a spat of magma debris struck his leg, Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder told Reuters.
The unidentified victim was reportedly rushed to the hospital.
Snyder told Reuters that some debris “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill.”
Volcanic activity destroyed another four homes over the weekend, authorities said, and has presented new dangers to Big Island residents.
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The lava made its way across the crucial Highway 137 early Sunday. Surrounding residents previously used the roadway as an evacuation route.
But as the molten material — known to reach 2,000 degrees — crossed the highway and poured into the ocean, it presented another threat.
Authorities early Sunday warned of laze, which is hydrochloric acid-filled steam carrying glass particles that forms when steaming lava hits meets with ocean water.
Even faint, “wispy edges” can cause eye, skin and lung irritation, the U.S. Geological warned.
Volcanic activity from Big Island’s Kilauea has created nearly two dozen lava-shooting fissures in the ground since May 3, spewing lava and emitting toxic gases.
Experts remain unsure of where more of the hazardous cracks might open up, nor when the mayhem might stop.
“We have no way of knowing whether this is really the beginning or toward the end of this eruption,” said Tom Shea, a volcanologist at the University of Hawaii. “We’re kind of all right now in this world of uncertainty.”
The summit of Kilauea, located within Volcanoes National Park, erupted Thursday. A plume rising 30,000 feet into the sky sent ash snowing back down on parts of Big Island.
With News Wire Services