Tragedy in Italian volcanic field prompts renewed warning of dangers at home


Three people died in Italy after trespassing in a volcanic field.

Police say an 11-year-old boy entered an off-limits area and his parents followed to try to rescue him.

It’s unclear if they were overcome by gas or killed as the result of an explosion of super-heated mud.

The tragedy hits close to home with an active volcano that draws people from all over the world.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park says visitors keep breaking the rules, and urges them to stop to avoid their own tragedy.

The last lava-related death on Hawaii island happened 15 years ago, and officials don’t want another one ever again.

With eruptions at two locations, Kilauea offers stunning sights at both Halemaumau Crater and from the Puu Oo vent down to the ocean.

But among those eager for a glimpse, some do it the wrong way.

“We wish people would stop sneaking into closed areas. We know it happens. We have issued numerous citations,” said park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.

Park rangers issued 150 citations at $100 a pop since the lava started flowing in summer 2016.

“A quick trip through social media outlets, you can see people sneaking out late,” Ferracane said. “We’ve had a number of citations issued, a number of people being caught out there. There’s still people who don’t get caught and post their photos. That’s just asking for disaster.”

The crackdown is to warn people of the dangers of trespassing.

The park counts five lava-related deaths since 1990. The most recent occurred in 2002 when a woman found near lava flows died from hyperthermia.

In July 2017, the park put out a public service announcement on how to safely view the lava: one mile away from the crater at the Jaggar Museum or at an area 900 feet away from the lava flowing into the ocean.

“There’s a really good chance someone could lose their life if they continue to trespass at this park or other areas,” Ferracane said. “This is not Disneyland. This is one of nature’s most magnificent yet hazardous phenomenons. We want to be able to keep access available to people. If there is a death, that access could come into question.”

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