Tourists injured as Mount Etna erupts for the third time in three weeks

Tourists injured as Mount Etna erupts for the third time in three weeks
16 Mar
2017

Several tourists have reportedly been injured as Mount Etna erupted for the third time in just under three weeks, spitting molten lava nearly 650 feet into the sky above Sicily.

A BBC journalist and camera crew were caught in the huge explosion on Thursday.

'Lava flow mixed with steam - caused huge explosion - group pelted with boiling rocks and steam,' the BBC's global science correspondent, Rebecca Morelle, tweeted.

She reported an estimated eight people suffered head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises.

'An amazing 78 year old lady was very close - but safely got away,' Ms Morelle tweeted.

'Incident could have been worse - explosions like this have killed - but seems minor injuries for now.

'BBC team all OK - some cuts/ bruises and burns. Very shaken though - it was extremely scary.

'Running down a mountain pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam - not an experience I ever ever want to repeat,' she added.

Italian news reports say scientists investigating the recent eruptions were injured when magma spewing from the volcano hit snow, causing an explosion.

The Catania operation center of Italy's volcanology institute confirmed Thursday that members of a team taking measurements on the active volcano had been injured, but had no details on the numbers involved or the seriousness of the injuries.

The Catania Today website reported that at least three volcanologists were on the volcano when the explosion occurred just before noon, and that some were injured.

This latest phase of activity at Europe's highest volcano follows the first eruption in more than a year at the end of February.

The eruption came from a relatively new crater on the southeastern side of the 3,000-metre peak.

It was captured on film by Italy's Geology and Vulcanology Institute (INGV).

Etna has been putting on a show in recent days, however Catania's airport remains open and there have been only periodic spews of volcanic ash.