23 hurt as lava crashes into Hawaii tour boat

New Island Of Lava Growing Off The Coast Of Hawaiian Island

UPDATE, PHOTOS: 13 Injured as Lava Bomb Rips Through Tour Boat Roof

New restrictions are in place for boaters near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano after a lava explosion injured 23 people on a sightseeing tour.

A "basketball-sized" lava bomb punctured the roof of the tour boat, which was carrying about 49 passengers while observing Kilauea's Kapoho ocean entry point, leaving a large hole and seriously injuring at least one woman.

Officials have warned that getting too close to lava entering the ocean risks exposure to breathing in toxic fumes and even fine glass particles.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting for two months now, which has led to a bespoke tourist industry around boats taking tourists out to sea to watch lava crashing into the water.

The Coast Guard now prohibits all vessels from getting closer than 984 feet from where Kilauea volcano's lava oozes into the sea. The tour boat returned to the Wailoa Boat Harbor in Hilo around 7 a.m. with 12 injured passengers, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.

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He did not observe "any major explosions", so he navigated his vessel closer, to about 228 metres from the lava. So far, more than 650 homes have been destroyed by lava, and molten rock now covers over 6,000 acres of land.

Hawaii's tourist agency reassured visitors it was safe to see Kilauea and its lava, the Big Island's top attractions.

Last week, scientists at the US Geological Survey said the flow of lava had created a new small island. The water flashes to steam, which causes the lava to explode into fragments, she said.

Salespeople for helicopter lava tour companies Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and Paradise Helicopters said it was business as usual on Tuesday and they had seen no cancellations. The volcano has also been pumping out much more lava than in the past; as much as 26 times the amount as the 2016 eruption.

There are now two active volcanoes in the state, including Kilauea which has been continuously erupting for 35 years.

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The captain of one of the boats said suspending the tours would only hurt the local economy.

In May its eruption entered a new phase when it began spurting lava through newly formed fissures in a residential neighbourhood.

The injuries were the first on a tour boat from flying lava in recent times, according to Levasseur.

Several people were injured in Hawaii after a boat was hit by flying lava.

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