Man dies after falling into lava tube

A man died after falling into a lava tube on his property in Hilo, Hawaii, police announced on Wednesday.

Authorities responded to man's house in Hilo on Monday morning after an acquaintance of the man said he had not been heard from in several days, Hawaii police said.

A rescue team from the Hawaii Fire Department responded to the scene, where they managed to repel into the tube and retrieve the man's body.

When authorities arrived on the property they discovered a soft area of ground and a hole in his backyard which authorities identified to be a lava tube.

Police Maj. Robert Wagner told Big Island Now that it appeared the man had been trimming some branches on his property when he fell through the soft patch. He was transported to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, the press release said.

An autopsy performed the following day determined that the victim died as a result of injuries from the fall. However, extinct tubes (the ones without flowing lava) are often used as tourist attractions in Hawaii. The victim's identification has not been released because his relatives have not yet been notified. Tubes can form either by the crusting over of lava channels, or from what's known as pāhoehoe flows, which is where the lava is moving beneath the surface.



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