(BIVN) – Speaking to media from his Hilo Medical Center hospital bed, Darryl Clinton – the first person to be seriously injured by the current volcanic activity on the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea – had a story to tell.
“It started out on Mothers Day, being awoken by a jet engine noise off the lanai about 200 yards on the other side of the road I live in,” Clinton said of the day when the eruption migrated to his area of Puna. “We saw the vapors, then the steam, and eventually the eruption begin.” It became known as Fissure 17, Clinton said.
Clinton said he stayed on his Puna property even after a volcanic fissure had emerged, in order to protect his home from burning down.
“These vents were launching lava bombs all over the area, and several of them were hitting the rooftop,” Clinton said.
Clinton was also enjoying watching the spectacle from his lanai, with friends and family. But things took a bad turn when an explosion propelled a glob of hot rock in his direction. A lava bomb shattered his leg badly.
“It hit me as I was talking on the phone. It snapped my led in half,” Clinton told reporters. “It knocked me down onto the couch, which caught on fire from the flaming rock.”
His friend pulled him down several flights of stairs, called 911, and met medics halfway. Doctors were able to put his leg back together, and by the time media had arrived by his bedside, he was already able to wiggle his toes.
“I just wanted to live,” Clinton said “I didn’t care if they cut my leg off down there or not. I just cant believe [the leg] is there.”
When asked if he’ll be leaving his Puna home during the eruption, Clinton answered without hesitation: “We’re gonna stay. There wont be hardly be any traffic anymore because there wont be any roads to drive on anymore.”