LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Redlands family spoke to CBS2 Tuesday evening about their harrowing ordeal as passengers on a sight-seeing boat hit by lava bombs Monday while vacationing in Hawaii.
Dr. Kaming Li and his family spoke to CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen via Face Time from Maui.
“It looked about the size of two basketballs. It was still glowing in the boat,” said Dr. Li.
The doctor and his family described the lava bomb that smashed through the metal roof of their Hawaiian boat.
Video captured the sense of terror passengers felt Monday as lava shrapnel fell from Kilauea volcano.
Nearly two-dozen people were injured including Dr. Li’s son.
Young Christopher tried to dodge the lava by hitting the deck.
“I got covered in really hot rocks. I stayed there for maybe two seconds and 3rd degree blistering burns on my legs,” Christopher said.
He and his sister Erica were at the front of the boat while their parents were towards the back.
“We really couldn’t get to them. There was total bedlam, there was chaos. There was just lava all over the boat,” said Dr. Li.
Mom and dad had another problem right in front of them. A woman in her 20s had been hit by lava.
“It looked like a broken femur,” says the doctor.
Li is plastic surgeon who has a practice in Ontario. Earlier in his career he worked at USC as a trauma surgeon. He later ran the burn unit at an Inland Empire hospital.
His wife Dawn is a nurse and the couple managed to improvise to help the injured passenger.
“We used one of the cushions to act as stretcher.” he says.
“We basically were calling for jackets to keep her from going into shock. And life preservers to stabilize her hip fracture,” said Dawn.
The woman with the broken leg was taken to a hospital when the boat returned to shore.
Dr. Li said the boat’s captain and his mate, wrapped the lava bomb in jackets and blankets and pushed it overboard fearing it would tear a hole through the vessel.