In truly heartbreaking news, an elderly man has died after falling 7m into a lava tube on his property, 9News reports.
According to Hawaii Island Police, the unidentified man was reported missing to police after friends and neighbours hadn’t heard from him in several days.
When police went to do a welfare check to his Kaumana home at around 8.30am on Monday morning, it became apparent that the man had fallen through a soft spot of ground on his property, where he plummeted 7m to his death.
“It appears (the victim) was trimming some branches in his yard and fell into a lava tube on his property and expired,” Hawaii Police Department Maj. Robert Wagner told Big Island Now. “(He) fell about 20 feet down.”
Rescue workers managed to retrieve the 72-year-old man from the lava tube, but he was later pronounced dead at the Hilo Medical Centre, according to the police press release.
Despite their terrifying name, lava tubes are generally harmless underground tunnels that lava flows through. However, extinct tubes (the ones without flowing lava) are often used as tourist attractions in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, the property in question was built on top of a series of lava tube tunnels. It appears that the man was gardening when the ground beneath him collapse, leaving him to fall 7 metres below the surface.
The Kaumana Caves Park is a popular hiking destination, with tourists flocking to see the tubes formed after during the 1881 eruption from Mauna Loa.
An autopsy has revealed that the man died of injuries consistent with falling, and no foul play is suspected.
The man remains unnamed as police are yet to notify his family.Image: Getty Images