Soldier in recovering after fall at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 20:13:51-04
Hawaii Volcano Steam Vent
Hawaii Volcano Steam Vent (NBC News)

KILAUEA, HAWAII – A U.S. Army soldier has been upgraded to stable condition, after falling into a volcano in Hawaii late Wednesday night.

Park officials say another visitor reported seeing the 32-year-old soldier fall from a 300-foot cliff. Officials say the soldier climbed over a metal railing to get a better view at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

He was found more than two hours later on a narrow ledge about 70 feet below. County fire crews and Park Rangers rappelled into the crater to rescue him and airlifted him to a nearby hospital.

A spokesman for the park says the ledge prevented him from falling the rest of the 300 feet, likely saving his life.

Hawaii News Now reported Thursday that Army officials say the soldier was stationed at Oahu’s Schofield Barracks and was training on the Big Island, but his name has not been released.

Park rangers say visitors should never cross safety barriers, especially around dangerous and destabilized cliff edges.

The last fatal fall at the National Park was in October 2017 when a woman fell in the same area near steam vents.