A giant plume of ash forming a huge mushroom cloud in the sky over the Italian island of Stromboli quickly sent chills down the spine of locals and tourists alike. Holidaymakers are drawn to the place, which is considered one of the most popular travel destinations in the country.
A volcano in the popular resort of Stromboli erupted Wednesday, releasing loads of molten lava and ash, killing one person, believed to be a tourist, who had been hiking nearby, according to a rescue service official cited by British media. The people are currently being evacuated from the island.
There were reports that some distressed tourists had thrown themselves in the sea, while others attempted to evacuate the small island off the Sicilian coast in boats.
The locals were reported by the news agency Ansa to have barricaded themselves in their homes as they saw imminent danger in the masses of ash enveloping the island. Some took to Twitter to report their fear, “the biggest in their lives” as they heard a loud roar from violent explosions, apparently of magma trapped deep beneath the ground.
“The cloud got bigger, white and grey. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely,” one shocked viewer wrote, with another butting in:
“We plugged our ears and after this a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,” another tourist was cited by media as saying.
According to Stefano Branca, from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, what the locals and tourists witnessed was a rare event of “great intensity” that is called “paroxysmal eruption” in scientific terms.
It happens when high-pressure magma is ejected out of a small, underground reservoir as a result of an explosion.
Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is extremely popular during the summer months due to its crystal clear water and intriguing black sand beaches.