BBC Crew and Tourists Injured in Lava Explosion on Mount Etna
Group pelted with boiling rocks and steam in incident triggered when lava came into contact with snow
Angela Giuffrida in Rome
Thursday 16 March 2017 11.17 EDT
BBC crew members were among 10 people injured when lava flow triggered an explosion as it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily on Thursday. Six of the crew were taken to hospitals in Catania and nearby Acireale. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.
The broadcaster’s global science correspondent, Rebecca Morelle, was among the team on the volcano at the time of the eruption, which came from a crater on the south-eastern side of the 3,000-metre peak. She tweeted: “Lava flow mixed with steam – caused huge explosion – group pelted with boiling rocks and steam.”
Morelle said the blast caused head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises, and that one volcanologist had told her it was the most dangerous incident he had experienced in his 30-year career.
It was a “reminder of how dangerous and unpredictable volcanoes can be – everyone had a very lucky escape”, she wrote. A 78-year-old woman was among those quickly brought to safety, she said.It is the third time in less than three weeks that Europe’s most active volcano, which overlooks the city of Catania, has erupted, spewing lava almost 200 metres into the sky.
“It’s difficult to say whether this has been the most dangerous eruption in 30 years,” Stefano Branca, a volcanologist at Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, said.
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