Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Man who fell in lava tube pronounced dead

A lava tube skylight A lava tube skylight
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2019, 14:44

A 71-year-old man died after falling down a lava tube in his back yard in Hilo, Hawaii, police said on Wednesday.

There, they discovered that the man appeared to have fallen about 22 feet through a soft area of ground into a lava tube.

Police said they were called to the man's property on Monday morning (local time), following reports that Mr Nishimoto "hasn't been seen or heard from in several days".

Hawaiʻi Fire Department Rescue personnel responded to the scene and were able to repel into the lave tube and extract the victim, the release stated.

Police located the victim after spotting a lava tube shaft, about two feet wide and more than 20 feet deep, on the property.

He was later pronounced dead at the Hilo Medical Center.

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An autopsy has revealed that the man died of injuries consistent with falling, and no foul play is suspected.

The details about the victim were not released, as the police had not notified his next of kin.

Lava tubes exist all throughout subterranean Hawaii and are created when the topmost layer of lava flow solidifies but has an undercurrent of lava flowing underneath, according to Atlas Obscura.

The unnamed man, who lives in the town of Hilo on Hawaii's Big Island, was trimming branches near his home when the tragic accident occurred, Big Island Now reported.

As that lava flows and drains into the ocean, it leaves behind maze-like tunnels - some of which are over 40 miles long.