US marines prepare for helicopter evacuation of Hawaii's Big Island residents as a third lava flow from the Kilauea volcano streams into ocean

17:43 • 25.05.18



A third lava flow from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano streamed into the ocean on Thursday as US Marines Corps helicopters stood by to evacuate a Big Island community should molten rock or huge cracks block its final escape route.


Six huge fissures sent rivers of molten rock through a blackened, volcanic wilderness that was once jungle, farmland and rural homes, the Daily Mail reports.


Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, entered the fourth week of what may be an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at its summit crater and along a six-mile string of fissures 25 miles down its east flank.

 

At least 50 rural homes and other structures have been destroyed by lava from the fissures. One person was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava.


Some 2,000 people have faced mandatory evacuations and another 2,000 in coastal communities may be forced to leave their homes if State Highway 130, their last exit, becomes blocked.

 

The US Marine Corps deployed two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters to Hilo, about 24 miles north, in support of a task force standing by in case an air evacuation is needed. Each helicopter can carry up to 50 people at a time.

 

'We now have the capacity to evacuate all of the estimated population of lower Puna south of the lava flow within a few hours,' Brigadier General Kenneth Hara of the Hawaii National Guard said in a statement.

 

Road crews dumped material into cracks on the road and covered them with steel plates in an effort to keep the highway open.

 

'Talks and discussions have been underway for possible air evacuations if it did come to that,' Tim Sakahara, Hawaii Department of Transportation, told reporters in a conference call.

 

Up at Kilauea's 4,091-foot summit, at least 12 explosions a day on average are pumping ash plumes thousands of feet into the sky. 

  

A third lava flow from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano streamed into the ocean on Thursday as US Marines Corps helicopters stood by to evacuate a Big Island community should molten rock or huge cracks block its final escape route

Six huge fissures sent rivers of molten rock through a blackened, volcanic wilderness that was once jungle, farmland and rural homes

The US Marine Corps deployed two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters to Hilo, about 24 miles north, in support of a task force standing by in case an air evacuation is needed. Each helicopter can carry up to 50 people at a time

Members of the National Guard released stunning aerial footage of the Kilauea volcano Tuesday morning as they monitored lava flow that was nearing the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant. Production wells at the plant were finally plugged on Wednesday to prevent toxic gases from seeping out

'Eerie' blue flames are seen escaping from cracks in the ground as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano enters its third week of eruptions 

The volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and steam 

Only one person has been seriously hurt as a result of the eruption when they were hit by a flying piece of lava





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