Nearly a dozen people are stranded in an area cut off by lava following “vigorous eruptions” from the Kilauea volcano, Hawaii authorities announced Sunday.
Hawaii Civil Defense Service officials said they went through the neighborhood to warn residents this was their last chance to evacuate before their final escape route was cut off by lava. Some chose to stay in the area, which now has no power, cell reception, landlines or county water, officials said. Authorities are planning to airlift people out if the lava spreads farther and endangers the dozen or so holdouts. Some said they were staying because they had nowhere else to go, officials said. Three people were evacuated from an isolated part of the Kapoho community Sunday, according to the Hawaii Fire Department.
The US Geological Survey said in a statement that it “was on a routine overflight and saw people on the road in an area cut off by the lava. They stopped to inquire of their situation, and then when asked, airlifted them to a safe place. They had become trapped after trying to move belongings and had no cell service.”
USGS said it will not be commenting further on the matter nor providing additional information. When asked at a press conference Sunday night how many people remain stranded by lava, Hawaii Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno did not provide much more detail, saying “Got reports of seeing people here and there. Yesterday I gave an estimate of about a dozen, probably still at that minus these three.”
Magno reiterated that there’s no power or water in these areas and that those stranded are “off the grid.”