Ten injured in Etna eruption
ROME-- As many as 10 people were injured in an explosion when magma erupting from Mount Etna came into contact with snow. BBC camera crew, tourists and scientists were among those caught up in the blast of ash and lava, vulcanologists said Friday.
Etna was thought to have calmed down over the past few years but the explosion Thursday has proven that it is still very active. The Sicilian volcano had been unsettled for the past few weeks, the tv crew went up to have a better look but quickly came back down after the mountain started erupting. It was caused by a “phreatic eruption”, when the lava, hotter than 1000 degrees celsius, came into contact with freezing snow. The meeting of fire and ice took place at an altitude 2,900 metres, on the south-eastern side of the peak.
The lava flow advanced beyond Belvedere and is now spilling over into the desert “Valle del Bove”, thankfully far from populated areas. The continuous eruption now taking place mirrors Mount Stromboli, with lava flow, thundering, and ash showers. The current activity poses no immediate threat to those living in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Luckily no one was majorly injured, but the experience shook many, especially those present. Rebecca Morelle, one of the three BBC crew caught up in the explosion, said that it was a “reminder of how dangerous and unpredictable volcanoes can be” and that “everyone had a very lucky escape”. A volcanologist on the site at the time of the eruption has said it was the “most dangerous incident of his career”.
Boris Behncke, another volcanologist from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy who witness the explosion, described it as “frightening and spectacular at the same time”, but thankfully received no injury other than a bruise on his head.
As a precautionary measure, the airspace at Catania is on red alert, while there are no limits on the number of landings, only five flights are taking off hourly. Footage of the eruption can be found on the BBC website.