15-Year-Old Survives Fall Into Steam Vent At Hawaii Volcanos National Park

Steam vent near Volcano House where the California boy fell. A nearby sign reads: Rain water encounters hot rock as it seeps into the ground, and rises as vapor through a system of cracks to condense in the chilled air. Vapor temperature four feet down is 160 degrees F, cooling to 120 degree F at the surface. NPS Photo.

A California teenager luckily avoided serious injury when he fell 25 feet down into a steam vent at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The unidentified boy apparently was trying to leap over railings surrounding the vent between Kīlauea Visitor Center and Volcano House when he fell into the crack Wednesday evening, park officials reported.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (Search and Rescue) team, and County of Hawai‘i Fire crews based in the park, responded to a 911 call from the victim’s mother at approximately 6:43 p.m.

Park SAR Coordinator John Broward rappelled into the deep, narrow, chimney-like crack and rescued the boy, who suffered a bump on his head and minor abrasions. His family declined further medical treatment, and he was released at the scene following assessment by County of Hawai‘i responders, a park release said.

“This young visitor and his family are extraordinarily lucky that he survived this mishap,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. “This incident serves as a reminder that park visitors are urged to stay on trails and not engage in reckless behavior while visiting their national parks.”

Rescues like this also put park staff and other first responders at risk, Superintendent Orlando noted.

This is the seventh SAR mission conducted by park staff so far this year. Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.

Comments

"Trying to leap over the railings"???

I was there a few weeks ago and just leaning forward over the railings put a blast of hot steam in my face. Going over the railings on purpose is practicing for a Darwin Award competition.