Big Island adventurer finds what appear to be live bombs in a lava field

Updated: Feb. 20, 2020 at 6:39 PM HST
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MAUNA LOA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Local adventurer Kawika Singson says he was hiking on the slopes of Mauna when he came upon what he calls the discovery of a lifetime.

"Once and awhile, people will find a little mortar round or a grenade. Well, I found a 600 pound bomb," exclaimed Singson.

Singson, who served in the armed forces and used to work with explosives, says he was walking through an old lava field, miles from the roadway, when he saw the object.

He says knew immediately he was looking at the end of a rusted military bomb.

"Half of the bomb was embedded in the lava, and I was thinking where is the other half," he said.

The hiking enthusiast then carefully climbed below and found a small lava tube.

"I went in it and that's when it really hit me. I saw the front end of the bomb sticking out of the ceiling of the lava tube. The bomb was fully intact," said Singson.

Singson says he found another bomb, just 50 feet away.

Seeing that the ordnance did not explode, he got out of the area fast.

Singson believes the bombs were dropped about 80 years ago.

Back in December 1935, the Army dropped 20, 600-pound demolition bombs on an erupting Mauna Loa, in hopes of diverting the lava flows that were moving fast toward Hilo town.

The military used that strategy again in 1942.

"I counted eight bomb craters. Bombs that hit the ground and exploded. And I found two bombs, so there was a total of 10 bombs within a hundred yard radius," Singson said.

He says he called the state Department of Land and Natural resources, and gave officials the GPS coordinates to the site.

DLNR says teams are working with the military to coordinate a plan to dispose of the suspected ordnance.

Singson says he's come across some unusual finds during his 30 years of hiking lava fields, but he says this one tops them all.

“I was scared and thrilled at the same time because I knew the gravity of what I just found,” he said.

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