A volcanic eruption on the Sicilian island of Stromboli has killed one person and sent frightened tourists fleeing into the sea.
The victim, according to the BBC, was a 35-year-old male hiker who was hit by a falling stone. His companion was found dehydrated and in a state of shock.
Gianluca Giuffrè, an Italian journalist told Italian news agency ANSA that tourists were seeking shelter in their accommodation or in the sea.
“All the people who were in the village about a hundred tourists and residents, either holed up at home or threw themselves into the sea,” Giuffrè said.
“The situation is critical even though at the moment there are no people injured.”
ANSA reported two new lava spouts were creeping down the volcano, which was shooting out red-hot rocks causing fires to break out across the island.
*BREAKING-URGENT* The #Stromboli volcano exploded a few minutes ago. Panic and Chaos among the people present on the Island. Many are trying to escape into the sea swimming or in small boats. #Volcano #Sicily #Eolie pic.twitter.com/GeGQ1Q3eBl
— Marco M.M. (@meteorologo777) July 3, 2019
Stromboli has a population of around 500 and has become a popular tourist destination popular for its picturesque beaches and choice hiking routes.
Fiona Carter, a British tourist on the island of Panarea, about 27km from Stromboli told Reuters she heard the blast.
“We turned around to see a mushroom cloud coming from Stromboli. Everyone was in shock. Then red hot lava started running down the mountain towards the little village of Ginostra,” she said.
“The cloud got bigger, white and grey. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely. Several boats set off for Stromboli.”
Stromboli, which shares the name of the island it inhabits, is one of the world’s most active volcanos and has been erupting continuously since 1932.