US soldier miraculously survives 70 feet fall into Hawaii's Kilauea volcano
The unidentified soldier was confirmed to be from Schoffield Barracks and was on Big Island as part of a training mission
A US soldier had a miraculous escape after falling 70 feet into one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, Hawaii Volcano National Park officials reported.
The soldier, who was not identified, survived with critical injuries. According to rangers who rescued him, the 32-year-old climbed over a metal guard rail overlooking the Kilauea caldera in the park, BBC reports.
The ground unexpectedly crumbled beneath his feet, witnesses claim, thereby causing him to plunge down the 300ft cliff. Miraculously, he was stopped from falling into the crater after he landed on a ledge and held on to it.
The man was part of a group who had reportedly stopped at the Steaming Bluff overlook Wednesday evening at around 18:30 local time.
"At approximately 21:00 [local time], the man was found alive but seriously injured on a narrow ledge about 70 feet down from the cliff edge," park officials said in a statement. "Rescue personnel successfully completed a high angle extrication using ropes and stokes litter and, with support from a Department of Defense helicopter, the man was airlifted to Hilo Medical Center for urgent care."
The man's condition was eventually upgraded from critical to stable on Thursday.
Speaking to KGMB-TV, army officials confirmed the man is a US soldier from Schofield Barracks who was on Big Island as part of a training mission.
However, Chief Ranger John Broward warned potential visitors to never cross safety barriers, "especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges."
Last year, the Kilauea volcano destroyed an estimated 700 houses after erupting and spreading over 14 square miles.
Kilauea "ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even top the list," according to the United States Geological Survey, and has been in a near constant state of eruption since 1983.
That said, the last casualty in the Hawaiian park was in October 2017.