A Hawaiian man who risked his life to save his neighbors when a volcano erupted in Pahoa has been seriously injured by molten lava. Armed with nothing more than a fire extinguisher, Darryl Clinton was desperately trying to put out fires on his friend’s property when he was struck by a “lava bomb,” he told CNN.
It hit him above the ankle and nearly severed his leg in half. At first, he was in shock and disbelief.
“‘That didn’t just happen’ was my first thought,” he told CNN from his hospital bed Tuesday.”‘I knew it was real because of the pain.”
The force of the lava was incomprehensible.
“It threw me against the wall like the worst impact I’ve ever had in my life, just so much force,” he told Hawaii News Now. “I landed on a sofa chair that was on fire from the lava exploding … and then my foot fell off my leg so it was like a hinge.”
“It basically snapped my leg in half, but right above the ankle” he added. “So my foot and my ankle were hanging by basically the back of my flesh, maybe my Achilles was still there. But all the other stuff was severed, so I had to hold my shoe.”
Clinton told KHON-TV that it was the “most forceful impact” he had ever experienced. At the hospital, he underwent two emergency surgeries to repair his shattered bones — he had huge amounts of molten rock embedded into his skin.
After all that has happened to him, Clinton is in remarkably good spirits, and thankful to be alive.
“The doctors did an amazing job. I can’t believe they could put it back together. I just wanted to live. I didn’t care if they cut my leg off down there or not,” he said as he recovered in hospital, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“I thought at the very minimum I would have to lose a foot,” Clinton added. “I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t even think I’d have a foot.”
But despite his brutal injuries, this incredibly brave man said that the risk of getting hurt did not outweigh his desire to put out the fires and help his neighbors.
“For the most part, we’ve enjoyed the whole time — front row seats to every aspect of a lava flow you can imagine,” he said of the volcano eruption. “It’s just been amazing when you see it close like that — and then to be able to save a couple structures, at least help.”
Local resident and volunteer Lililoe Kahalepauole told Sky News that there were so many “mixed emotions” in the community since the massive Kilauea eruption on May 3.
Yes it is scary, she explained, but also magical, because “Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, is showing herself.”
“Flowing lava is a beautiful sight. It’s beautiful.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)