Monday 23 October 2017

Mount Etna eruption: BBC crew among at least 10 injured in 'huge explosion'

The group including one 78-year-old woman were 'pelted with boiling rocks and steam'

Samuel Osborne

At least 10 people have been injured after several tourists and a BBC crew were caught up in an eruption at Mount Etna.

A member of the BBC crew said they were caught up in a "huge explosion" along with several tourists on the Italian island of Sicily.

BBC science correspondent Rebecca Morelle tweeted to say the lava flow mixed with steam causing the explosion.

Ms Morelle said the group, which included one 78-year-old woman, was "pelted with boiling rocks and steam."

She said some had head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises, but added that everyone "had a very lucky escape."

Some of the group were evacuated by a mountain rescue team, she added.

The president of the Italian Alpine Club chapter in Catania, Umberto Marino, was traveling up the volcano in a snowcat when injured people started running in his direction.

''The material thrown into the air fell back down, striking the heads and bodies of people who were closest," Marino said, according to the Catania Today website.

Six people are recovering in the nearby Catania and Acireale hospitals, Il Corriere reports.

One volcanologist told Ms Morelle the explosion was the most most dangerous he had seen in his 30-year career.

"Explosions like this have killed," she added.

"Running down a mountain pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam — not an experience I ever ever want to repeat."

Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, began erupting for the first time this year towards the end of last month.

It is the highest volcano in Europe at 3,330 metres and has burst into life several times each year.

Independent News Service

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