In Italy, tourists and journalists hoping for a better look at Europe’s most-active volcano ran for their lives Thursday.
Mount Etna has been putting on an impressive show for days, spewing lava and steam. But no one expected the explosion that sent ash, rocks and steam toward sightseers at temperatures of over 1,800 degrees.
The massive explosion was caught on camera by a BBC camera crew.
Piping-hot volcanic ash and rock rained down as tourists and the crew fled. One reporter described it as “running down a mountain (being) pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam.”
A camerawoman shook burning embers off her back. Her colleague later tweeted a photo of the hole burned in her jacket:
At least 10 people were injured from flying debris, taking shelter in a passing snowcat vehicle.
The blast is what’s known as a “phreatomagmatic eruption,” and is caused by extremely hot lava hitting much colder snow.
Police responded on snowmobiles in what was a lucky escape for everyone.
There are always risks involved with getting close to an active volcano, but experts say this kind of explosion is a rare event, as it takes a “perfect storm” of conditions for it to happen.
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