Police continue to investigate death of tour guide

Hawaii Island police on Friday identified the man who died Thursday after collapsing in a lava field while leading a hiking tour in Puna.

Sean King, 51, of Pahoa, was leading three visitors on a tour about 4 a.m. heavy steam clouds caused by the rain engulfed the group and caused King to collapse and subsequently lose consciousness. The incident occurred about 2 miles inland from mile marker 24.5 on the emergency road.


Because of limited visibility and poor cell phone reception, the remainder of the group, who were not familiar with the area, hiked for several hours before they were able to call for help. Rescue personnel responded at 8:16 a.m. and found King’s body on state land about several hundred yards outside the boundary of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Police are continuing to investigate the death, but said Friday that no foul play was suspected. An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death.


The three visitors on the tour, a 22-year-old woman from South Carolina, a 23-year-old man from New Jersey and a 22-year-old man from New York, were treated by medics for non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information should call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Bobbie-Jo Sagon of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2375 or Bobbie-Jo.Sagon@hawaiicounty.gov.

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