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15-year-old lucky to be alive

Steam vent near Volcano House where the California boy fell April 10, 2013. A nearby sign reads: Rain water encounters hot rock as it seeps into the ground, and rises as vapor through a system of cracks to condense in the chilled air. Vapor temperature four feet down is 160 degrees F, cooling to 120 degree F at the surface. (Photo courtesy NPS)

Steam vent near Volcano House where the California boy fell April 10, 2013. A nearby sign reads: Rain water encounters hot rock as it seeps into the ground, and rises as vapor through a system of cracks to condense in the chilled air. Vapor temperature four feet down is 160 degrees F, cooling to 120 degree F at the surface. (Photo courtesy NPS)

MEDIA RELEASE

A 15-year-old San Rafael, Calif. boy who fell Wednesday evening 25 feet into a steaming earth crack at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was pulled to safety by Park Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park SAR team, and county fire crews based in the park, responded to a 911 call from the victim’s mother at approximately 6:43 p.m.

It was reported that the youth had attempted to leap over the protective railing surrounding a steam vent between Kilauea Visitor Center and Volcano House.

Park SAR Coordinator John Broward, assisted by county fire personnel, rappelled into the deep, narrow, chimney-like crack and rescued the boy, who suffered a bump on his head and minor abrasions.

His family declined further medical treatment, and he was released at the scene following assessment by county responders.

“This young visitor and his family are extraordinarily lucky that he survived this mishap,” Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando said. “This incident serves as a reminder that park visitors are urged to stay on trails and not engage in reckless behavior while visiting their national parks.”

Rescues like this also put park staff and other first responders at risk, Orlando added.

This is the seventh SAR mission conducted by park staff so far this year.

Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.

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