Europe

Stromboli: One dead as volcano erupts on Italian island

Tourists look on at an explosion in the distance Image copyright Carmelo Saia
Image caption Tourists watch the explosion from a beach on the island of Lipari

A volcano has erupted on the Italian island of Stromboli, killing one person and sending frightened tourists fleeing.

The victim is a male hiker who was hit by a falling stone, while other people were injured.

The navy has been deployed for a possible mass evacuation, with 70 people already evacuated.

The volcano is one of the most active on the planet and has been under a regular state of eruption since 1932.

"Unfortunately one man is dead, there are a few injured, but none seriously," emergency worker Calogero Foti told Italy's Rai television.

The victim was a 35-year-old man from Sicily who was hiking when the volcano erupted twice. His Brazilian friend was discovered dehydrated and in a state of shock, the AGI news agency reported.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ash rising from Stromboli after the eruption

Firefighters are battling flames on the island.

"We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar," said Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel on the island.

"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," she said.

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Media captionColumns of ash rise from the eruption of the volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli.

Fiona Carter, a British tourist on the island of Panarea, some 17 miles from Stromboli, heard the eruption.

"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.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption View of the volcano from the nearby island of Panarea

Holidaymakers were reported to have run into the sea after seeing ash rising from the volcano. The island is a popular location for holiday homes of the rich and famous.

Stromboli is known as the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean" and has a population of around 500. The last major eruption was in 2002, when a blast destroyed local buildings and piers, injuring six.

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