The Hawai`i County Fire Department responded on Thursday morning to a 8:15 a.m. alarm for a rescue of hikers in the Kalapana lava viewing area.
According to authorities, the hikers were overcome by a noxious steam cloud, caused by rain, and clouded their vision and affected their breathing.
Four hikers, one of whom was a hiking guide, were involved in the incident.
HFD reports that the tour guide “succumbed to the noxious effects of the cloud” while the other three individuals were able to escape. The tour guide was air lifted, from an area away from where the three hikers were located, to an awaiting ambulance where it was determined that he had died.
The three additional hikers were airlifted to safety by Chopper 1 and Chopper 2. They sustained minor injuries and denied further medical services.
File image NPS/Janice Wei.