Soldier survives 70-foot fall into one of the world’s ‘most active’ volcanoes

The local fire chief said he's doing "remarkably well" for what happened.

A soldier has been upgraded from critical condition to stable after he fell roughly 70 feet into the crater of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Wednesday.

A park spokesman said he fell after climbing over “a permanent metal railing at the Steaming Bluff overlook to get a better vantage point.” Army officials told Hawaii News Now the Schofield Barracks soldier was on a training mission at the Pohakuloa training area on the Big Island.

The man was found 70 feet below the rim of the volcano and was airlifted out. He was flown to Hilo Medical Center, per NPR. Hawaii County Fire Department battalion chief, Matthias Kusch, told Hawaii News Now that the 32-year-old man is “doing remarkably well for his fall. Only time will tell what injuries he has.”

Kilauea “ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey's website. The crater “hosts an active lava pond and a vigorous gas plume.” It erupted in 2018, and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Chief Ranger John Broward told Hawaii News Now in a statement: “Visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges. Crossing safety barriers and entering closed areas can result in serious injuries and death.”

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Haley Britzky
Haley Britzky

is the Army reporter for Task & Purpose, covering the daily happenings in the Army and how they impact soldiers and their families, as well as broader national security issues. Originally from Texas, Haley previously worked at Axios before joining Task & Purpose in January 2019. Contact the author here.

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