The other tourists hurt in the incident suffered minor burns and other more superficial injuries he said.
Officers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) along with the Hawai'i County Police Department are investigating the incident.
An explosion has sent lava bombs and debris flying through the roof a tour boat off Hawaii's Big Island, injuring at least 23 people.
Of the 13 injured passengers, four were taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.
She described the boat as "covered with lava".
Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano has created a tiny new island on the Big Island. 'Just really good people'.
US authorities have warned boats of getting too close to the dangerous plumes
The others in the tour group quickly pulled together helped one another, Turpin said.
'What I saw in humanity this morning was awesome. "In all honesty, we definitely evaded a catastrophic event today".
Government officials have also been warning about the dangers of laze, potentially unsafe mix of hydrochloric acid, steam and tiny glass particles in the air that results from the interaction of the lava and the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard initially responded around 6 a.m. HST to reports indicating several crew members and passengers had been injured aboard the Hawaiian tour boat "Hot Shot", according to HNN. The Coast Guard said tour vessels have operated in the area going back at least 20 years. The remaining 9 passengers drove themselves to the hospital, and the Fire Department reported their injuries were not as serious. It prohibits vessels from getting closer than 984 feet (300 meters) from ocean-entry points.
What is unprecedented with this lava flow, said USGS geologist Janet Babb, is the high volume of lava generated from fissure 8, as well as the more shallow topography near Ahalanui warm ponds, the site of the ocean entry.