A volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli exploded on Wednesday, releasing hot trapped magma in a powerful explosion, killing one person and covering the popular tourist destination in ash, observers and local officials stated.
The one accident, believed to be a tourist, was killed by falling stones during a hike, a rescue service official stated. A second person was injured.
The Italian news agency ANSA states the blast sent about 30 tourists jumping into the sea for safety.
The sudden explosion started fires on the western side of the small Mediterranean island, which lies north of Sicily, off the toe of Italy. Fire crews were being called in from nearby locations and a Canadair plane was already in action.
“We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar,” stated Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico Grande, on the east side of the island.
“We closed our ears and after this, a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,” she reported the Reuters.
Fiona Carter, a British tourist on the island of Panarea, some 17 miles from Stromboli, heard the blast.
“We turned around to see a mushroom cloud coming from Stromboli. Everyone was in shock. Then red hot lava started running down the mountain towards the little village of Ginostra,” she told the Reuters.
“The cloud got bigger, white and gray. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely. Several boats set off for Stromboli,” she continued.