Elderly Man Found Dead After Falling Into Underground Lava Tube In Hawaii

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2019

An elderly man fell to his death after slipping down a "lava tube" in his yard in Hawaii, local police said Wednesday.

A rescue crew with the Hawaii Fire department managed to abseil into the lava tube and lift Mr Nishimoto out.

Authorities determined that the man had fallen through a "soft area" of ground into a lava tube on his property.

According to the US Geological Survey, lava tubes are natural channels through which lava travels beneath the surface.

Hawaii police say a 71-year-old man who had been missing for several days was found dead in an underground tube formed by lava.

The victim was taken to the Hilo Medical Center and pronounced dead. After the lava flow stops, a lava tube cave remains, which can be large enough for people to walk through.

An autopsy performed on Tuesday found that the man died as a result of injuries consistent with falling, according to the press release.

The police statement also said that the victim's identity is being withheld until police notify next of kin and positively identify him.

Officers also noted that they do not suspect foul play was involved.

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.

The hollow core is created when the lava drains away completely.

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