7 Men, Including 2 From Maui Cited for Loitering in Volcano Disaster Area

June 2, 2018, 12:40 PM HST · Updated June 2, 12:44 PM
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Temporary Flight Restriction map. Courtesy Hawai’i Civil Defense Agency

People trying to get close-up views of lava in Lower Puna were cited by DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers last night.

Seven individuals will have to make court appearances to face charges of loitering in a disaster zone under Hawai‘i County code.

Since the beginning of the East Rift Zone eruption in early May, DOCARE has been assisting Hawai‘i County Police, the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency and the National Guard in manning check-points and conducting patrols to keep people out of dangerous areas.

Joseph Tomaselli, age and hometown unknown because he didn’t have identification and 64-year-old Steven Vige of Castaic, CA were in a car together on a back road leading into Lava Tree State Park. Officers report confiscating an entrance placard from Tomaselli since it was not being used for its intended purpose to get personal items out during an evacuation.

Vehicle used by a couple cited by DOCARE officers on Monday night to allegedly enter a closed area. PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

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In the same area, two men from Lahaina, Maui–35-year-old Dilbert Shaw and 34-year-old Larrick Euband–were cited for loitering in a disaster area.

Also cited were 20-year-old Matt Magura of Germany and 23-year-old Michael Eisgruber of New York State.

The seventh person, Joseph Anthony of Hong Kong was cited in the Kapoho Beach Lots area and his camera was confiscated as evidence.

Earlier this week a California couple was cited for entering a closed area, as was a California man who was operating a drone in the Temporary Flight Restriction area.

Huawen Wu, 38, of San Jose, California was observed allegedly flying his drone in the restricted area in an attempt to get aerial photography of an active lava flow on Hawaii Island.

A temporary flight restriction was placed over a five mile radius of Leilani Estates by the FAA at the request of the county due to volcanic activity and the threat that unpermitted drones pose to emergency aircraft operations.

During the East Rift Zone Eruption only the US Geological Survey, Hawai’i Electric Light company and the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo are permitted to operate drones for the purposes of hazard evaluation.  The case has also been referred to the Federal Aviation Administration for follow-up.

The TFR was expanded by the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday and now includes additional coastline, ocean waters; and lands to the north and east of Pāhoa. Civilian drone operations are not permitted in the TFR and pose a risk to emergency, rescue, and hazard assessment air operations.

*Below: HD video of UH-Hilo drone at Highway 132 lava crossing (May 30, 2018)

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