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Video: Volcano hunter: Standing near lava ‘like a drug’

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    >>> back now with a man who truly lived on the edge. geoff mackley is a news cameraman with a passion for extreme adventure and recently put both of his talents on display when he climbed into the middle of an active volcano , at one point standing just 30 yards above the bubbling, boiling lava. geoff is with us this morning. geoff , good morning.

    >> good morning, how are you?

    >> i'm doing well. let me ask you the obvious question right out of the gate. why? why do you put yourself so close to the lava?

    >> well, you know, in this day and age there are very few places you can go and things you can do where you can truly say wow, and i -- i've always had the catch phrase the greatest show on earth , and whether it's a volcano or being in a category 5 hurricane or chasing tornadoes, mother nature just puts on the most amazing show. there's very few places on earth that you can actually truly go and stand and say i am the only human to have ever stood here, and such was the case with this place, so it's just a first for adventure, to do something no one else has ever done.

    >> we know you got about 30 yards away from that bubbling, boiling lava. how do you get down there to begin with?

    >> well, getting to the side is incredibly dangerous. you're talking 1,200 feet vertical. if you stacked two chrysler buildings on top of each other, that was the commute to work each morning, and had you to dodge rocks gig enough to kill you that are moving at like, you know, terminal velocity past you every few minutes, hitting the road, damaging the road. it was dangerous. standing on top of the lava wasn't standing on top of the edge of that lava pit, was not actually that dangerous. getting to that point was just incredibly dangerous.

    >> we see in some of these pictures you look like you're in some sort of a heat suit . can you describe what it describes like physically to be that close.

    >> absolutely incredible. the first day that i got to the bottom, i didn't have the heat suit , and i just simply walked to the edge and managed to stand the heat for roughly six seconds before i had to cover my face and run back, but that special heat suit was designed by someone in the fire brigade in new zealand. we also teamed that up with a breathing apparatus , exactly the same as any fire brigade would use to enter a burning building, and that is so that you're breathing fresh air . if you took one gulp of the super heated air coming off that lava, it would kill you instantly. so i was able to stand there breathing, cool, fresh air from the breathing tanks and in that heat seat you felt like you were in an oven, but it was kind of a surreal experience. you could feel the waves blasting at you, and you felt totally protected. i was able to stay there for 40 minutes in the air on the breathing apparatus ran out and as any fireman knows, scream at me, and i stood there until it ran completely out of air. such was the amazing sight i was looking at and ran clear of the lava lake and took the breathing mask off.

    >> real quick, geoff .

    >> unforgettable.

    >> described your fascination with volcano hunting as something like a drug. i say this with the utmost respect. are you a little bit crazy, geoff ?

    >> no, not a little bit crazy. i take calculated risks. i've been doing this for a long, long time. it's been a 15-year quest to get to the bottom of that pit, but no one else has ever achieved, it getting that close. i'm amazed no one has, but the pictures are exactly what i had in my mind. all along i knew that's what i would come away, and i'm totally blown away . and you're right. it is like a drug. you just keep coming back because it, to be standing there looking at moulten rock boiling like water, that close. nothing -- it's indescribable.

    >> the pictures are just stunning. geoff mackley, a man with very high insurance premiums, thank you very much gemp we appreciate it.

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