Etna is known to be very active but this may have been an unusually large eruption by its own standards.
A BBC team and a number of tourists have suffered minor injuries after being caught up in an incident on the erupting volcano Mount Etna in Sicily, reports BBC News.
“Many injured – some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises,” tweeted BBC science reporter Rebecca Morelle. Lava flow mixed with steam had caused a huge explosion, which pelted the group with boiling rocks and steam, she said.
About eight people had been injured, with some evacuated from the mountain by rescue teams, she added.
“BBC team all ok – some cuts/ bruises and burns. Very shaken though – it was extremely scary,” she relayed in one of a series of tweets as she ran down the mountain.
The BBC reporter said a volcanologist at the scene told her it was the most dangerous incident he had experienced in his 30-year-career.
She said a guide had suffered a dislocated shoulder, while a 78-year-old woman had been very close to the blast, but managed to get away safely.
Members of the group ran away from the blast, trying to reach the safety of a snow mobile, she added.
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The Catania operation centre of Italy’s volcanology institute confirmed that three of its volcanologists had been on the mountain when the explosion took place, and said some had suffered injuries, but gave no detail.
Mount Etna, which is Europe’s tallest active volcano, spewed lava up into the sky in the early hours of Thursday morning, for the third time in three weeks.