Fri | Sep 21, 2018

World of uncertainty: Hawaii lava reaches sea, injures man

Published:Monday | May 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
In this Saturday, May 19, 2018 photo, lava erupts inside the Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii. As lava flows have grown more vigorous in recent days, there's concern more homes may burn and more evacuations may be ordered.

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP):

A volcano that is oozing, spewing and exploding on Hawaii's Big Island has got more hazardous in recent days, with rivers of molten rock flowing into the ocean and flying lava causing the first major injury.

Kilauea volcano began erupting more than two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, forced people to flee, and shot up plumes of steam from its summit that led officials to distribute face masks to protect against ash particles.

Lava flows have grown more vigorous in past days, spattering molten rock that hit a man in the leg.

He was outside his home Saturday in the remote, rural region affected by the volcano when the lava "hit him on the shin and shattered everything from there down on his leg", Janet Snyder, Hawaii County mayor's spokeswoman, told the Hawaii News Now TV station.

Lava that is flying through the air from cracks in the Earth can weigh as much as a refrigerator, and even small pieces can be lethal, officials said.

The injury came the same day lava streamed across a highway and flowed into the ocean. The phenomenon sends hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air and can lead to lung damage and eye and skin irritation, another danger for residents as the plume can shift with the wind, the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency said.

The highway has shut down in some spots, and residents in the area have been evacuated.