Soldier Falls 70 Feet Into Hawaiian Volcano and Lives

Kilauea volcano
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A 32-year-old soldier training in Hawaii fell 70 feet into an active volcano  — and survived.

The man was at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Wednesday when he climbed over a safety railing at the Steaming Bluff lookout of the Kilauea volcano, the park said in a statement. He lost his footing trying to get a closer look and fell down into the volcano's caldera, a cauldron-like crater that forms usually after a major eruption.

Witnesses reported the incident about 6:30 p.m. and a search and rescue team headed to the scene. Around 9 p.m, he wad found alive on a narrow ledge. But he had serious injuries.

Rescuers used ropes and a basket, with the help of a helicopter, to lift the man to safety. He was rushed to the hospital.

He was upgraded Thursday to stable condition, Hawaii News Now reported.

The site reported that the man is a Schofied Barracks soldier, part of a unit training at Pohakuloa. It was not clear why he was at Kilauea on Wednesday.

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

Kilauea experienced a major eruption last May, spewing ash thousands of feet into the air. Lava rolled across the ground as people fled their nearby homes. Active lava was last reported coming from the volcano in early September and the park reopened to visitors later that month.

The last time someone died falling in the park was in 2017.

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