Vents from volcano in Hawaii could cause choking

Officials on the Big Island of Hawaii say some vents formed by Kilauea volcano are releasing such high levels of sulfur dioxide that the gas poses an immediate danger to anyone nearby.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said Monday the gas may cause choking. It says people may be unable to breathe if exposed.

On Monday, another fissure spewing lava and unhealthy gas opened up, and a crack in the Earth that emerged a day earlier was sending molten rock on a slow run for the ocean, officials said.

The county says the warnings apply to an area near the vents in the southeast section of the Lanipuna Gardens neighborhood and surrounding farm lots.

Authorities recommend leaving the area and seeking medical attention if severely affected.

Officials have ordered evacuations for about 2,000 people since Kilauea volcano began shooting lava into a residential neighborhood on May 3.

The eruptions have opened nearly 20 vents in the ground. Lava has destroyed more than 40 structures, including two dozen homes.