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Hawaii man dies after falling down lava tube in his garden

A man in Hawaii has died after falling down a "lava tube" - a tunnel formed by volcanic eruptions - while trimming trees on his property.

Authorities responded to man's house in Hilo on Monday morning after an acquaintance of the man said he had not been heard from in several days, Hawaii police said.

Rescue teams were able to rappel into the lava tube and bring the man back up. Officers went to his home in Hilo and discovered the man had plummeted more than 22 feet below the surface after falling through a soft area of ground into a lava tube on his property.

The victim, who now remains unidentified until his next of kin have been notified, was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

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Hawaii Police Department Major Robert Wagner told Big Island Now that the shaft the man fell into was approximate two feet (60cm) wide. When they're extinct, the tubes do not have lava in them, but form large tunnels beneath the earth's surface.

The man remains unnamed as police are yet to notify his family.

Lava tubes exist all throughout subterranean Hawaii and are created when the topmost layer of lava flow solidifies but has an undercurrent of lava flowing underneath, according to Atlas Obscura.

An autopsy performed Tuesday confirmed that the victim died as a result of injuries constant with a fall.



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