Twin blasts from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile have sent vast clouds of ash into the sky, increasing concerns that it could contaminate water, cause respiratory illnesses and ground more flights.
1,500 people have been evacuated after the volcano in southern Chile erupted for the first time in 43 years. The evacuation of the town of Ensenada was a precaution, authorities in Chile said. People living within a 12.5-mile radius were told to leave their homes and flights over the volcano were suspended as an additional safety measure. Schools in the area were also shut down.
The eruption created a massive plume of smoke and ash several miles high. Thus far there has been no sign of hot rocks or lava.
Trevor Moffat, who lives in Ensenada, some 10 kilometres from the volcano, said he and his family fled when the volcano erupted.
"It sounded like a big tractor trailer passing by the road, rattling and shaking, guttural rumbling. We left everything there, grabbed my kid, my dog, got in the car with my wife,"
Calbuco, which is 620 miles south of Santiago, last erupted in 1972. Apart from Indonesia, Chile has the largest chain of volcanoes in the world.
This was the second eruption in a matter of weeks, coming after that of Villarica in March. "This is clearly a much larger eruption than the one we saw with Villarica some weeks ago and therefore we need to take bigger and faster measures," Rodrigo Penailillo, the country's interior and security minister, said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)