Edward G Wingate, USGS topographical engineer, was mapping the summit of Mauna Loa in 1926, changing campsites as the work progressed. On April 10, an earthquake wakened the campers about 0145; as they drifted back to sleep, a further series of quakes had them sitting up, talking, and wondering. About 0330 Wingate braved the cold and wind; with a blanket wrapped around him, he went outside and stood bathed in reddish light.
There was a brief summit eruption, followed by 14 days of eruption on the southwest rift zone. A flow from this rift zone passed through a South Kona forest, crossed the main road on April 16, and pooled behind the coastal village of Hoʻopuloa, it was 15-20 feet high and more than 500 feet wide. Between 0400 and 0900 HST on April 18, the flow buried the village, wharf and harbor and entered the ocean.