Mount Etna makes her presence felt once again.
It comes as little surprise as Mount Etna is Europe’s largest and most active volcano. It’s also been weeks since she has been sending up plumes of glowing red lava and ash that could be seen for miles around.
Early Thursday, it let off a monstrous boom. Volcanic rocks and steam from the eruption injured around 10 people who had been on the mountain to presumably capture the event.
The rest of the BBC television crew narrowly escaped serious injury but in effect, captured one of the most dramatic videos of Mount Etna’s eruption.
The crew, along with a number of tourists, were drawn in to Sicily to observe the pending eruption but were caught off guard when the flowing magma hit thick snow–causing a massive explosion that caused rock and other material to rain down upon them. One of which was Rebecca Morelle, a BBC science reporter on the scene, happened to live tweet the event itself.
“Running down a mountain pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam–not an experience I ever want to repeat.”
“BBC team all ok–some cuts/bruises and burns. Very shaken though–it was extremely scary.”
Morelle had mentioned a medical team had logged around eight injuries, all minor, and that the majority of the BBC crew was relatively unharmed. Emergency authorities had reported the additional injuries at a later time. Morelle also expressed how the explosion and the event of having to run was “a reminder of how dangerous [and] unpredictable volcanoes can be.”
Later, in the safety of her hotel, Morelle even went to to post a photo of a camera operator showing her coat which had a big hole burned through by “a lump of rock”.
As it turns out, Mount Etna’s eruption was an event that could be captured from space. The European Space Agency posted an image of the explosion.
It is to be noted that the snow has been processed into blue in order to distinguish it from the clouds.
Local authorities had expressed that around 35 tourists were in an area where they had permission to be at when the explosion occurred midday. The guides who had accompanied them helped bring them to safety. 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,” he was quoted saying to the local media.
Mount Etna was quiet for a few years then burst into life around February with repeated explosive eruptions that sent orange plumes of lava into the air. The more recent eruption was the result of a so-called phreatomagmatic eruption, caused by magma hitting water (in this case, snow).
Officials at Sicily’s Catania airport announced that they would reduce arrivals by half to five flights an hour due to the ash clouds. Meanwhile, departures would continue on as previously scheduled.
Italy’s Volcanology Institute said it is going to continue to monitor the volcano.