John Bacon, USA TODAY
Published 11:37 a.m. ET Nov. 7, 2019 | Updated 2:00 p.m. ET Nov. 7, 2019CLOSE
A man in Hilo, Hawaii reportedly died after falling into a lava tube on his own property.
GeoBeatsAuthorities in Hawaii were investigating the death of a man who apparently died after falling through soft ground into a cave-like lava tube.Police on Hawai’i Island said Wednesday that they went to the man’s home in Hilo on Monday, following up on a report that he had not been heard from in several days.”Hawaiʻi Fire Department Rescue personnel responded to the scene and were able to rappel into the lava tube and extract the victim, whose body was approximately 22 feet below the surface,” police said in a statement.The island, also known as Big Island, is home to five volcanoes. Lava flows from the most volatile, Kilauea, destroyed hundreds of homes just last year.The man who fell into the lava tube was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the man died from injuries consistent with falling, police said. No foul play was suspected.His identify was being withheld pending positive identification and notification of his family.Lava tubes are underground channels left behind from lava flows. Hilo is home to Kaumana Caves State Park, where hikers can descend on a metal ladder into a skylight in a lava tube that was created by an 1881 flow from Mauna Loa.In May, a man was rescued after falling into Kilauea volcano, the most active of the island’s five volcanoes. A search and rescue team retrieved the man, who was seriously injured, from a ledge 70 feet down from the crater’s edge.A year earlier Kilauea erupted, forcing underground magma to the surface on May 3, 2018. The next day lava was pouring through Leilani Estates, a 700-home community with about 1,500 residents.Within days, dozens of lava vents had opened up, spewing magma high into the air and sending a slow-moving avalanche of molten rock downhill. The lava’s intense heat set homes ablaze before it ever reached them, and then the liquid rock buried the flaming remains.Over the next three months, Kilauea flooded an area 10 times the size of New York’s Central Park with lava, destroying more than 700 structures, including 200 homes, and displacing about 3,000 people.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/07/lava-tube-missing-hawaii-man-found-dead-under-property/2517103001/
John Bacon, USA TODAY