People pelted with boiling rocks as Mount Etna erupts

Mar 18, 2017, 00:57
People pelted with boiling rocks as Mount Etna erupts

BBC science journalist Rebecca Morelle said on Twitter her crew was hit by steam and boiling rocks. Six people are reported to have been taken to nearby hospitals in Catania and Acireale.

One reporter described it as "running down a mountain (being) pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam..." "Volcanologist said most unsafe incident experience in his 30 year career", Morelle tweeted.

Mount Etna, a Unesco world heritage site since 2013, can burst into life several times year, although the last major eruption was in 1992.

Mount Etna spewing lava Thursday, hours before the incident.

Reports indicate that 10 people were injured, but everyone survived.

Attending one of Europe's largest submarine hunting exercises in Sicily, the Flying Tigers of 814 Naval Air Squadron turned their hi-tech sensors skywards to record the violent activity of Mount Etna.

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"When the lava flows over a lot of snow at high speed, it can trap the snow underneath", Neri said.

"Coming back from mountain now - there's a big ash cloud above Etna now - the plume from the explosion was visible from a long way apparently".

Even though Etna is hyperactive, injuries to tourists visiting the volcano on the eastern coast of Sicily are rare.

Onlookers suffered head injuries, bruises and cuts from rocks and other debris that rained down on the group frantically trying to escape from the mountainside.

A new lava flow started from the south-eastern crater on Wednesday and was advancing with a temperature above 1000 degrees Celsius in an area covered by snow.