More than 700 houses destroyed as Kilauea volcano eruption continues

More than 700 houses destroyed as Kilauea volcano eruption continues

Twenty-three people have been injured after a volcanic explosion caused molten rock to barrel through the roof of a tour boat in Hawaii.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) says the tour boat involved in this incident is a Lava Ocean Tours vessel.

Bryan said he and his travelling companions suffered "tons of cuts and burns" but were otherwise OK.

Shane Turpin, owner of Lava Ocean Tours and captain of the boat "Hot Spot", said he and his tour group were in the area for about 20 minutes before he piloted the boat closer to shore to get a better view.

Officials have warned of the danger of getting close to lava entering the ocean, as this can create clouds of acid and fine glass.

Kilauea, the volcano on Hawaii's Big Island is now in a high-activity phase and attracting sightseeing tours.

He did not observe "any major explosions", so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 228 metres from the lava. The current eruption is one of the longest and most intense on record. The debris crashed through the roof of the vessel, which had taken visitors to watch the lava flowing into the sea.

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All lava flow hiking tours have been stopped, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea is located, is closed to visitors.

The U.S. Geological Survey says explosions of varying sizes happen whenever 2,000-degree (1,093-degree Celsius) lava enters much colder seawater. The spokeswoman said that lava splatters can weigh as much as a refrigerator.

The lava flow from the volcano has destroyed more than 700 homes, but until this point the only serious injury was to resident Darryl Clinton, who had his leg sliced open by a lava bomb.

Even though lava tourism has long existed on Hawaii's Big Island, tour boat operators have report increased demand from tourists eager to witness the latest eruption of one of the world's most active volcanoes. Tour vessels are known to operate the area going back at least 20 years.

Four passengers, including the woman who was later airlifted to Oahu, were taken by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center.

There were several small earthquakes at Kilauea's summit on Wednesday, where the vent inside the volcano's Halemaumau Crater has grown along with a series of explosive eruptions that have sent rock and ash thousands of feet into the sky.

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