The explosive power under the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been unleashing lava over the last several weeks including lava bomb projectiles that are launched through the air. One of these lava bombs struck a man named Darryl Clinton who said the force of the blast was unlike anything he had ever felt in his life.
The lava bomb knocked him backward on the third-floor porch of his neighbor's in east Hawaii. Clinton and others had stayed on the island while others evacuated so that he could spray the roofs of homes with water when lava bombs landed on them to prevent fires.
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Clinton and his neighbors spent five days taking turns hosing down homes whenever the bombs flung from Fissure 17 would land. Clinton was on the phone when he was struck by a lava bomb, and the power of it knocked him off his feet and onto a couch behind him which subsequently caught on fire. "It was the most forceful impact I've ever had on my body in my life," Clinton said. "That was just incredibly powerful and hot. It burned." When Clinton looked down at his leg, he saw a bone sticking out and a nearby friend scrambling to wrap a tourniquet around it as blood spurted from the wound.
"I don't know if I was in shock," Clinton said. "I just think about my daughters and knew I was up on that roof, and I was in really bad shape … I knew I had to get out of there. I couldn't pass out. We just had to get out of there." Clinton's injury made him the first known person to be injured as a result of the volcanic activity on the big island.
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He was loaded into the back of a truck and rushed to meet medics while he endured the excruciating pain. Clinton was taken to Hilo Medical Center where doctors cleaned out the wound and removed tissue they could not save. To his surprise, doctors were able to stabilize his leg which he was sure he would lose. "I just wanted to live. I didn't care if they cut my leg off or not," Clinton said. "I just can't believe it's there."
Clinton is currently recovering in the hospital and is even able to wiggle his toes already. "It was incredible. It was just the event of a lifetime," he said. "Every aspect of the lava was there, you know, the sounds, the sights, the flowing lava, the aa (a type of lava flow), the fissures. It was all happening at one time."
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