Officials Arrest People Taking Selfies Near Volcano As It Spews A River Of Lava

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Officials are arresting people who are snapping photos of themselves near Kilauea as the Hawaiian volcano continues to spew bubbling lava and molten rock from fissures.

Authorities are cracking down on thrill-seekers as they post pictures on social media of themselves venturing feet from the rivers of lava. The volcano erupted May 3 and forced thousands of residents to evacuate — but some tourists did not catch the drift.

Government officials have arrested or cited at least a dozen people in the past 10 days. They have also increased fines to $5,000 and added up to a year behind bars for anyone milling about the volcano.

One woman claimed she wanted to be the first person to walk with the fire.

“We were the first people he took out here and some of the first people on earth to stand next to this flow,” Seattle resident Ruth Groza wrote in an Instagram post that included photos of the volcano. She gained access to the area through a friend who lived nearby.

More than 500 homes have been destroyed or damaged as the National Guard continues to assess the extent of destruction. The lava has reportedly flowed at a rate of 15 mph in some areas. (RELATED: Earthquakes Rattle Hawaii As Lava And Toxic Gas Force Mandatory Evacuations) 

The Kilauea volcano, one of the five that make up Hawaii’s largest island, is also belching clouds of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas, threatening at least two residential subdivisions close to the volcano. Eruptions were accompanied by a series of light tremors, punctuated by a magnitude-6.9 earthquake, which hit the south slope of Kilauea shortly after the initial eruption.

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Tags : energy hawaii mount kilauea
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