Vog poses health hazard in another way - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vog poses health hazard in another way

Lori Cannon Lori Cannon

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KONA (KHNL) - The vog may pose a serious health hazard to some in the Big Island in another way. The vog makes it difficult for a life-saving crew from Kona to do their job.

Hawaii Life Flight has saved many lives since taking flight in December. But it has also been grounded many times because of the vog.

"The vog factor is very significant because you need visibility to fly, especially across the Hawaiian chain and the closer you are to the shore as you get out towards the ocean, the vog factor actually increases in some aspects and you cannot see land," Flight nurse Lori Cannon said.

This dangerous phenomenon is known as, "White-Out." It's where pilots can't distinguish between the ocean or the sky.

The life flight crew says there's nothing they can do about the vog, except maybe one thing.

"Yeah, Halemaumau could stop erupting, there really is no solution, you have no control over Mother Nature," Cannon said.

She also says pilots have the ultimate say whether they stay grounded or not.

"We have pilots that are highly trained to checked this out and they use weather maps and FAA standards to see if the flight is indeed safe to fly," she said.

But when it's not safe, there's a back-up plan in place.

"We will always attempt to do the flight, if it becomes where we cannot do it, we activate our fixed-wing immediately and we directly take the patient to them and they will fly the patient over," Cannon said. "It's unfortunate that we have a condition that is due to Mother Nature that we have no control over."

Hawaii Life Flight isn't the only crew that runs into problems because of the vog. Cannon tells us helicopter and boat tours also stops service if the vog is really bad.

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