Italy’s Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted on Tuesday, creating a fountain of lava and sending plumes of orange smoke into the sky.
The eruption forced Sicily’s Catania Airport to temporarily close — which often happens when the volcano is active. No injuries or deaths have been reported. Residents in the village of Pedara near the crater said it spewed not only ash, but also big chunks of volcanic stones throughout the area.
“It was a rain of stones,” resident Letizia Olivieri told the Associated Press. “Something I never saw in my entire life.” The Sicilian village was in emergency mode, the mayor said, as residents and municipal teams worked to clean up the ashes on the street Wednesday.
The Department of Civil Protection said nearby centres were not at risk, although Italy’s Central Emergency Department said it was watching the towns of Linguaglossa, Fornazzo and Milo.
The airport at Catania had to close due to ash, which had risen more than a kilometre into the air and made it unsafe to fly, the Ansa news agency reported.