Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii; A Possible Threat For Travelers, Residents

January 6, 2023

Global Rescue operations experts are standing by to assist travelers who may need field rescue, medical evacuation or medical advisory due to the volcanic activity reported within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

According to the U.S. Geological Service Volcano Notification Service (USGS VNS), the Kīlauea volcano began erupting at approximately 4:34 p.m. HST on January 5, 2023, when the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a glow in Kīlauea summit webcam images indicating that the eruption had resumed.

“Global Rescue’s intelligence and operations teams are monitoring the event and will report unsafe sulfur dioxide levels in the area in case air quality decreases,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, the leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. “Travelers are advised to monitor developments as conditions can change rapidly and with little notice.”

The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic, according to information from USGS. “Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor. The largest lava fountain is consistently about 10 meters (32 feet) high. Fountain bursts up to 30 meters (98 feet) high occurred around 7:45 p.m. and there were several bursts up to 50 meters (164 feet) high during the initial part of the eruption.”

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory elevate Kīlauea’s volcano alert level to WARNING and its aviation color code to RED as this eruption and associated hazards are evaluated.

“Flight disruptions or evacuations may be ordered if the situation escalates. Travelers should be prepared to utilize any means necessary to exit the affected region, including air, sea and land travel. Monitor local media, government alerts and airport notices to stay informed as the situation develops,” said Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL and senior manager of security for Global Rescue.

“Travelers should check with the airlines and see if they are still able to fly to their destinations. Volcanic ash is a dangerous element of a volcanic eruption. The ash can damage aviation equipment, it’s very fine and can damage jet engines. Ground vehicle transportation may be affected, too, for the same reasons,” Bush said.

Volcanic ash near a flight path shuts down all aviation. In 2010 a volcano eruption in Iceland shut down air travel in Europe for a significant time.

“Travelers have learned that anything can happen during a trip, especially since the pandemic. Their mindset has made a tectonic shift, moving travel protection for emergency evacuation from ‘optional’ to ‘obligatory’. Travelers learned that emergency rescue and evacuation services are often essential, whether it’s due to COVID-19, a natural disaster, civil unrest or simply needing emergency help when you’re traveling,” Richards said.

Contact Bill McIntyre at bmcintyre@globalrescue.com or 202.560.1195 (phone/text) for more information.

About Global Rescue
Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services to enterprises, governments and individuals. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Global Rescue has provided medical and security support to its clients, including Fortune 500 companies, governments and academic institutions, during every globally significant crisis of the last two decades. For more information, visit www.globalrescue.com.

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