Lava bomb hits tour boat, injures 23 people

New Island Of Lava Growing Off The Coast Of Hawaiian Island

UPDATE, PHOTOS: 13 Injured as Lava Bomb Rips Through Tour Boat Roof

Turpin, owner of Lava Ocean Tours, said he was well outside the zone at the time of the blast.

Bryan said he and his travelling companions suffered "tons of cuts and burns" but were otherwise OK. The people were aboard a tour boat that takes visitors to see lava from an erupting volcano plunge into the ocean.

In May, the US Coast Guard instituted a 200 metre safety zone for boats around the lava flowoff, but allows experienced operators to apply to get as close as 50 metres. "It was everywhere", he said.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said the boat was operated by Lava Ocean Tours, one of at least three companies offering daily excursions to passengers who pay about $US220 ($NZ324) per person to watch from a vessel lava flowing into the sea.

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The ongoing eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano and continued lava flows into the sea has created a tiny new landmass off the Big Island, officials revealed Friday.

The latest official number of houses that have been destroyed since the eruption began was 700, however as the eruption continues this number will continue to rise.

And the volume of lava now entering the ocean is much higher than in previous eruptions, Babb said.

The others in the tour group quickly pulled together helped one another, Turpin said.

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Thirteen of them required hospitalisation and the rest were treated at a harbour when the boat engaged in a "lava tour" returned to the Big Island, also known as Hawaii.

Lava Ocean Tours was set to take tourists out as usual on Tuesday, although the "Hot Spot" was taken out of service after a basketball-size "lava bomb" tore a hole through its roof, a company saleswoman said.

He added that Monday's incident is a reminder of how risky the eruption is and why officials have tried to keep the public at a safe distance. Government officials have also been warning about the dangers of laze, potentially unsafe mix of hydrochloric acid, steam and tiny glass particles in the air that results from the interaction of the lava and the water.

The injuries were the first on a tour boat from flying lava in recent times, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Amanda Levasseur.

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Four passengers, including the woman who was later airlifted to Oahu, were taken by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center.

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