Man finds two unexploded bombs while on hike

  • Courtesy Kawika Singson/Everything Hawaii TV Kawika Singson recently discovered unexploded bombs in remote lava fields on Mauna Loa. One of the dark red bombs can be seen on the upper right of this photo.

  • Courtesy Kawika Singson/Everything Hawaii TV Kawika Singson recently discovered unexploded bombs in remote lava fields on Mauna Loa. The bottom of one of the bombs, as seen from within a lava tube, is shown here.

Big Island adventurer Kawika Singson made an explosive discovery this week.

While exploring the lava fields of Mauna Loa Feb. 16, Singson, who lives in Kona, chanced upon two unexploded military bombs that had penetrated a lava tube.

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Singson, who hosts “Everything Hawaii — Adventures with Kawika Singson,” said he loves to hike the Big Island’s old lava flows.

On that Sunday, he had “no particular agenda other than being out there and hiking.”

It was pure chance that he stumbled upon the unexploded devices, but he knew immediately what it was.

Singson, who worked with explosives while serving in the military, knew the history of bombing runs during the volcano’s 1935 eruption from a previous story produced for “Everything Hawaii.”

Bombs were used both in 1935 and 1942 in an attempt to divert the lava flow from Hilo, he said, and larger bombs were used during flows in 1975 and 1976.

Singson said he saw the back end of the bomb sticking out of the lava, and wondered if it had gone through the wall of the lava tube.

When he entered the tube, Singson saw the front end protruding through the ceiling.

His thought?

“Oh my god, that bomb’s intact.”

That’s when the gravity of the situation hit.

Singson said he took a photo and some video, “then I got out of there, got out of the immediate area … .”

Singson believes the bombs he found were from 1942.

“I couldn’t believe I came across these,” he said.

After his discovery, Singson met with officials from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and shared coordinates.

A DLNR spokesman confirmed Friday that the department’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement was aware of the situation and has been in contact with Singson.

DLNR said the location of the suspected unexploded ordnance is within a remote area of the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve.

Both DOCARE and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife are coordinating a plan to dispose of the unexploded devices, and have been in contact with the military for support, the spokesman said.

Singson shared his find in a post on Facebook.

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The full story will be shared on an upcoming episode of “Everything Hawaii,” which is set to air at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12, and throughout the following week on Spectrum OC16, channel 16.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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