One dead as tourists flee in panic after volcano erupts on Italian island of Stromboli

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ONE person has died after a volcano erupted on the small Italian island of Stromboli.

A huge plume of smoke filled the skies above the tiny Mediterranean island, sending red-hot rocks spilling from the mountain.

AP:Associated Press

Thick smoke billowed from the volcano as it spat out scalding rocks[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Emergency services rushed to the scene as the explosion started fires on the western side of the island[/caption]

EPA

Holidaymakers said that they heard a huge explosion and then saw the giant cloud[/caption]

EPA

There are also reports the volcano is shooting out red-hot rocks called lapilli which are setting fire to cane breaks[/caption]

Emergency services rushed to the scene as the explosion started fires on the western side of the island.

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,” said Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico Grande, on the east side of the island.

“We plugged our ears and after this an cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,” she told Reuters.

There are also reports the volcano is shooting out red-hot rocks called lapilli which are setting fire to cane breaks, local sources told Italy’s ANSA newsagency.

We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar.

An eyewitness told the publication: “A huge column of dense black smoke is coming out of the crater.”

Fiona Carter, a British tourist on the island of Panarea, some 27 km (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 Reuters.

“The cloud got bigger, white and grey. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely. Several boats set off for Stromboli,” she added.

INGV expert Stefano Branca said that there had been a “paroxysmal eruption” on the island, when high-pressure magma explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir. “These are events of great intensity and quite rare,” he said.

Tourists often climb to the 924-metre (3,000-foot) summit of the volcano and peer into its crater, with small puffs of molten rock regularly blasted into the sky. It was not clear if anyone was on the crater at the time of the latest blast.

According to the geology.com website, Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been erupting almost continuously since 1932.

AP:Associated Press

There had allegedly been a paroxysmal eruption on the island, when high-pressure magma explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir.[/caption]

EPA

Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been erupting almost continuously since 1932[/caption]

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