Hawaii man dies after falling down lava tube in his garden

Hawaii man dies after falling down lava tube in his garden

Ken Hon, a volcanologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told The Washington Post that it's easier than people may think to fall into a lava tube.

According to Hawaii Island Police, the unidentified man was reported missing to police after friends and neighbours hadn't heard from him in several days.

Hawaii police are investigating the death of an elderly man who fell into a lava tube on his property, according to a Wednesday press release.

Hawaii Fire Department Rescue crew responded to the scene and repelled down to extract the victim from 22ft below the surface.

"It appears (the victim) was trimming some branches in his yard and fell into a lava tube on his property and expired", Hawaii Police Department Maj.

Police say the 71-year-old had apparently fallen about 22ft (7m) "through a soft area of ground".

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The victim, who now remains unidentified until his next of kin have been notified, was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

As the lava flows, the top and sides of the stream harden, forming a tube in which the rest of the lava continues to flow. An autopsy found he died of injuries consistent with falling. After the lava drains away, it can leave behind massive caves under the earth.

'No foul play is suspected in this case, ' the release concludes.

The man remains unnamed as police are yet to notify his family.

A lava tube skylight.

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