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Illinois woman severely injured by Hawaiian lava bomb speaks for first time

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More than two weeks after getting hit by a lava bomb while in a boat off of Hawaii’s big island, a Washington, Illinois woman remains hospitalized in Honolulu.

Jessica Tilton, 20, was hit by a lava rock, about two feet in diameter, when she leaned over to protect her sister after a cloud of ash overtook the tour boat they were riding in. Tuesday, she spoke for the first time about the incident.

“Everything just went black and you didn’t see anything,” said Tilton. “You just felt like you were suffocating and I thought I was dying. I just kept screaming ‘My leg!,’ because my leg hurt. I heard the captain saying, ‘Is anyone hurt?,’ and my dad was saying, ‘My daughter! My daughter!'”

Tilton suffered breaks in two parts of her leg, as well as injuries to her hip and back. An investigation is ongoing into any wrongdoing by the tour boat’s operator.

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