One minute, tourists on the Sicilian island of Stromboli were enjoying the late August sunshine on the tiny island’s beaches.
The next, the island was rocked by a massive volcanic eruption that sent tourists and residents fleeing for safety.
Many people filmed the destruction taking place behind them as a black cloud of ash shot into the sky and a lava plume flowed out into the water, seemingly on course to gobble up at least one boat whose passengers were fleeing the disaster.
Londoner Nicole Bremner was already out to sea when the eruption took place, the Independent reported.
“We had just dropped the anchor and were about to go swimming when my partner noticed a larger plume of smoke than usual,” she said. “I started filming and then we heard the large blast and I filmed the plume. We then headed back over to see if we could help with any evacuation.”
— Nicole Bremner (@NicoleBremner) August 28, 2019
Residents had already taken cover from the eruption, which was larger than the usual lava flows from the volcano, which often shows signs of activity.
— TIME (@TIME) August 29, 2019
Although tourists are warned to avoid getting too close to the volcano while boating, this eruption failed to follow the posted rules and sent lava flowing well into the zone where boaters expect to be safe.
“We were sailing at a safe distance as per ordinance, when all of a sudden we heard a loud bang and saw a large black cloud spewing out of the Stromboli crater and pouring into the sea,” Elena Schiera, 19, of Palermo, Sicily, said, according to CNN.
Stromboli volcano has erupted again today, after the event of July 3, spewing plumes of ash and smoke into the air and sending a river of lava into the sea. This is a video capture by Elena Schiera while fleeing from the island [videos and photos, IG: https://t.co/ZAbc2azUg7] pic.twitter.com/HF3PHkFOWC
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) August 28, 2019
“We immediately increased the speed of the boat to the maximum, even though, being a sailboat, the speed was still limited. Then the cloud arrived at sea and began to advance quickly towards us,” Schiera said.
“At that moment the panic broke out because we had the cloud a few meters away from our stern, but thanks to my father who was at the helm we managed to get away just in time because then the cloud started to rise again.”
Residents on the shore scrambled for safety as well.
— Carlo Poggio (@carlopoggio) August 28, 2019
“I was sitting at the bar in Ginostra with my mother, drinking a cup of coffee when we heard a massive boom and subsequently the volcano explosion,” Federica Manna, a Stromboli resident, said.
“We all gathered in the square and after a short time it started to rain sand and stones. You can imagine the chaos. We sheltered in a church under the beams because we feared there was an earthquake.”
Despite the severity of the eruption, no injuries were reported. However, a July eruption caused the death of a hiker.
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