Kilauea Lava Explosion Injures 23 Tourists

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An explosion has sent lava flying through the roof of a tour boat off Hawaii's Big Island, injuring at least 13 people.

Observers noticed the new island Friday and say it's possible it's part of the fissure 8 lava flow, which continues to pour into the ocean.

U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said lava bombs occur when water interacts with lava.

Lava sends up clouds of steam and toxic gases as it enters the Pacific Ocean as Kilauea Volcano erupts.

"Early Monday morning, 23 people on a lava tour boat were injured when an explosion at the ocean entry hurled lava bombs and debris onto their boat". It's reported one passenger has a broken leg and the others were burned, though the full extent of their injuries is not known at this time. 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".

He didn't observe "any major explosions", so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 250 yards away from the lava.

A police officer secures the tour boat

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

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

The agency allows experienced boat operators to apply for a special license to get up to 164 feet from where lava sizzles into the sea. It began erupting in May and has destroyed more than 700 homes.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and one of five on the island.

A collapse explosion event, which is measured in quake magnitude, caused an increase of activity from fissure 8 resulting in some channel overflows, USGS said. The worst case was a 20-year-old woman who suffered a traumatic, leg injury.

DOCARE officers are now in the process of interviewing injured passengers at the Hilo Medical Center.

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