Hawaii man found dead after falling into tube formed by lava

A man in Hawaii has died after falling down a "lava tube" - a tunnel formed by volcanic eruptions - while trimming trees on his property.

The man was reported missing after he wasn't heard from or seen in several days, according to Hawaii Island police.

When police went to do a welfare check to his Kaumana home at around 8.30am on Monday morning, it became apparent that the man had fallen through a soft spot of ground on his property, where he plummeted 7m to his death.

Hawaii Police Department Major Robert Wagner told Big Island Now that the shaft the man fell into was approximate two feet (60cm) wide.

He was later pronounced dead at the Hilo Medical Center.

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Hawai'i Fire Department Rescue personnel who responded to the call then repelled down the lava tube in the man's backyard and discovered the victim's body approximately 22 feet below the surface.

A lava tube skylight.

A lava tube is a large underground channel that is formed naturally by lava flowing beneath the ground's surface.

An autopsy performed Tuesday confirmed that the victim died as a result of injuries constant with a fall. Kaumana Caves Park near Hilo is a destination for hikers that can explore the lava tubes created by an 1881 flow from Mauna Loa.

Authorities have yet to release the man's name or notify his family.

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