Kilauea volcano 'lava bomb' shatters leg of SoCal native living in Hawaii

HONOLULU (KABC) -- A Southland native in Hawaii's Big Island lived to tell his story after a "lava bomb" from the Kilauea volcano struck him, shattering his leg.

A "lava bomb" is a big blob of molten lava that cools just enough to harden on the outside as it flies through the air with a liquid, red-hot center.

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After the sun went down, lava from Kilauea took on an uncanny appearance as it ravaged the Hawaiian landscape.

Darryl Clinton, a graduate of Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, now lives on Hawaii's Big Island. He stayed behind when his neighbors evacuated, armed with a fire extinguisher, guarding their homes against lava bombs. He became something of an expert on how not to get hit.

"Look up, and watch them, keep your eye on them. It's almost like catching a football, but you don't want to catch this football," Clinton said.

If only he had taken his own advice. The day after he gave that advice, a lava bomb hit Clinton in the lower leg.

"It was the most forceful impact I've ever had on my body in my life," he described. "My leg was in half, my bone was sticking out, there was blood squirting out, and my leg was hinged. It knocked me down onto the couch, which caught on fire from the flaming rock."

Arresting footage shows extent of Kilauea's devastating lava flow
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Aerial footage shows a sprawling lava flow from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Doctors were able to save his shattered leg.

"I can't believe they put it back together," Clinton said. "I just wanted to live. I didn't care if they cut my leg off down there or not."

Clinton still has his leg, and along with it, an incredible story of how he took a hit from Kilauea and survived.

"I just think about my daughters, and I knew I was up on that roof, and I was in really bad shape...I had to get out of there," he said.

Clinton believes the searing heat from the lava bomb cauterized his wound and kept him from bleeding to death. He is expected to make a full recovery.

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Some residents in Hawaii are standing their ground against the fury of the Kilauea volcano as they try to protect their properties and their lives.

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