Two Fall Into Volcano Steam Vent; One Dies

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Two people fell into an intensely hot natural steam vent at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and one became trapped and died.

“It took us quite a while to get her out. We couldn’t get within 10 feet of her because of the scalding heat,” said Jim Martin, the park’s chief ranger.

The body of Elizabeth Ann Matsch, 24, of Boulder, Colo., was retrieved early Tuesday. John Schnorr, 25, of Seattle, did not require hospitalization.


The two, both volunteer workers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were sitting at the edge of the vent taking a steam bath at the time of Monday night’s accident.

They tried to move away after a particularly hot gust of steam erupted from the hole, but they slipped on mud and fell 10 feet down the 2 1/2-foot-wide hole, said Mardie Lane, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service.

Schnorr managed to cling to a ledge and climb out, but Matsch fell another 10 feet down, Lane said.

Martin said it was not unusual for people to take steam baths in the vents.