Costa Mesa Boy Slips Into Steam Vent in Hawaii

A 10-year-old Costa Mesa boy fell chest-deep into a steam vent here Wednesday, suffering second-degree burns over 10% of his body.

The boy, who was visiting Hawaii with his soccer team, had wandered off a park trail near the sulfur banks and slipped into the steaming crack in the ground, said Mardi Lane, park ranger.

He held onto grass to keep from falling all the way inside the vent, she said.

Adult chaperons from the soccer team were able to pull the boy from the hole and drive him to park headquarters; he was later taken to Hilo Medical Center.

He was treated and released, hospital officials said.

The steam vent measured 8 feet long and 3 feet wide, but hot steam prevented rangers from measuring its depth, Lane said.

Steam vent temperatures in that area, about 20 feet from the park trail, range from about 160 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit, said Jeff Sutton, a gas geochemist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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