Additional Citations Given for Loitering in Eruption Zone

The Department of Land and Natural Resources reports that over the last few weeks an additional eight people have been cited for loitering in the East Rift Eruption Zone, including seven of them in the last 24 hours.

At around 8:15 p.m. on Monday, 49-year old Malaika Maphalala of Pahoa, 41-year old Ralph Unger of Pahoa, and 18-year old Kumsa Maphalala of Pahoa were cited by DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers.

DOCARE reports that the three people were standing on hardened lava near Railroad Avenue and Papaya Farms Road.

Officers indicate the people were about sixty feet from the active lava channel.

Early Tuesday morning a USGS field crew using a drone to map the lava flow reported to the Hawai‘i Police Department that they’d spotted an unauthorized drone circling Fissure 8 and then flying back toward Lava Tree State Park.

HPD along with DOCARE officers searched the area around the park and didn’t find anyone. They continued checks on Forest Road and in Nanawale Estates and found a vehicle in front of a barricade. Officers ticketed the vehicle for obstructing traffic and numerous equipment infractions.

Later in the morning four people were located inside two barricaded areas where they were cited for loitering in a disaster zone and a drone in the possession of one individual was confiscated.  Forty-year-olds David Bishop and Sunnee Bishop of Hong Kong, 42-year old Burke Holbrook and 43-year old Nancy Holbrook both of Honolulu were listed by the DLNR as the individuals within in the area.

On July 15, 27-year old Aaron Spicer of New Hampshire was cited after he allegedly circumvented a checkpoint on Highway 132, went past several coned-off closed roads and a cement barricade to enter Lava Tree State Park.

Officers say Spicer was on a motorcycle and was also cited for having an expired safety check.

Since the beginning of the current eruption in early May nearly 90 people have been cited. Under an emergency proclamation from Governor David Ige, potential fines and jail time for anyone convicted of loitering in the eruption zone could be as high as $5,000 and one year in jail.

DLNR photo.