Tour Group Caught Sneaking Into Dangerous Hawaii Crater

Open Jaw

Remember when tour groups quietly followed their sign-wielding guide and asked themselves: “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium?” Not anymore.

A guide and tour group have been fined for sneaking into the off-limits area at Halema'uma'u, the erupting crater of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

National Park Service law enforcement officers caught a tour guide and a group of 13 trying to access the site at night earlier this week and were all issued with fines totalling US$130 each.

The 44-year-old guide was given additional citations for operating a non-permitted business in the park and endangering the safety of others. He must make a court appearance and faces a $5,000 fine and up to six months in prison.The guide is affiliated with French tour company Adventure et Volcans.

Halema'uma'u has long been closed to the public due to hazardous, unpredictable conditions.

"This is a serious violation. Areas surrounding Halema'uma'u Crater are closed because of extremely hazardous volcanic conditions that include high concentrations of toxic gases and particulates, ongoing volcanic explosions and frequent collapses of the crater walls," said chief ranger John Broward.

"Rangers will continue to monitor and take appropriate action to reduce the occurrence of risky behaviour."

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