VANUATA – Two intrepid American explorers recently rappelled down hundreds of feet into a volcano in the South Pacific, getting as close as 50 feet above the hot, churning lava, according to CNN.
It took George Kourounis and Sam Cossman roughly two hours to make the 1200-foot descent, which is a depth that nearly equals the height of the Empire State Building.
“You cannot physically get any closer to this lava without swimming in it,” Kourounis told the cable news channel. “Parts of it actually splashed me and melted my jacket.”
Even wearing a fire-resistant suit, he could only stand above the lava for a couple of minutes at a time, according to CNN.
Kourounis described noise coming from the volcano as sounding like constant thunder.
“I call it the sound of Satan’s washing machine, just churning, bubbling, gurgling,” he said.
Kourounis said it was unlikely the volcano would erupt. Still, he and Cossman worried that the edge of the crater would crumble and rain rocks down on them.
The adventure was captured on video and has since gone viral since being posted on YouTube last Thursday. Titled “Man Dives into an Exploding Volcano,” the video has been viewed more than 2.3 million as of Wednesday morning.
CNN contributed to this report.