Hawaii volcano: Flying lava injures 13 on tour boat

People watch from a tour boat as lava flows into the Pacific Ocean in the Kapoho area east of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii US

Hawaii volcano: Flying lava injures 13 on tour boat

At least 13 people have been injured after lava smashed through the roof of a tour boat following an explosion in Hawaii.

Babb said the current volume of lava flowing out of fissure 8 is much higher, at about 50 to 100 cubic meters per second, compared to the '61g flow, ' where lava from Puu Oo pumped out about three to four cubic meters per second.

A basketball-sized lava bomb slammed through the roof of a tour boat near an active fissure of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Monday morning, showering the vessel with debris and injuring 23 people, according the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency. Beside the hazards, several companies operate such tours. In initial reporting passengers say the vessel was outside of the U.S. Coast Guard-established safety zone.

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The lava bomb, or flying chunk of molten rock, left a large hole in the boat's roof, the fire department said. The other tourists hurt in the incident suffered minor burns and other more superficial injuries he said.

'As we were exiting the zone, all of a sudden everything around us exploded, ' he said.

Officials have warned of the dangers of toxic fumes, created when molten rock hits the sea and forms hazardous clouds containing hydrochloric acid and glass particles. It's unclear how close Turpin's tour boat was to the Kapoho lava ocean entry when the explosion happened, but eyewitnesses report the boat appeared to be "very close".

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He said that the crew didn't pick up on any warning signs before the explosion.

Kilauea Volcano pictured in June. The remaining 9 passengers drove themselves to the hospital, and the Fire Department reported their injuries were not as serious.

Turpin has been navigating lava tour boats for many years and has lived on the Big Island since 1983.

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The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on 3 May. But the only serious injury over the past two months was to a man who was hit by flying lava that broke his leg.

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