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Soldier falls inside Hawaii volcano while trying to get a better look

Molten pahoehoe lava visible through a skylight in solidified pahoehoe lava at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. (Wikimedia/Released)

A soldier survived a 70-foot fall onto a ledge inside Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano this week after hopping a railing to get a better look at the crater.

The 32-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier was on the Big Island as part of a training mission, Army officials told Hawaii News Now. He climbed over a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook to get closer to the edge of a 300-foot cliff and fell at about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a statement from Hawaii National Park.

Onlookers alerted the park staff right away, and about two and a half hours later the injured man was found on a narrow ledge about 70 feet from the cliff edge. Ropes and a litter were used to rescue him, according to the park. He was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition, but was upgraded to stable on Thursday, according to NPR.

“Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges,” said Chief Ranger John Broward in the park statement. “Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”


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