At least six people are dead and dozens have been injured after the Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala experienced an explosive eruption, sending rocks and ash 6 miles into the air - blanketing nearby villages and sparking an exodus of at least 2,000 people from affected regions.
Guatemala City's La Aurora international airport closed its only runway due to volcanic ash, while emergency crews in search of trapped residents found were forced to dodge streaming lava flowing down the streets of a village near the eruption.
The volcano is located around 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City, close to the popular tourist destination of Antigua.
Workers and guests were evacuated from the La Reunion golf club near Antigua. Video footage showed a black cloud of ash rising from just beyond the golf club. The lava river was running on the other side of the volcano. -Reuters
Circulando x wapp la erupción desde el club de Golf ⛳️ La Reunión pic.twitter.com/5EKjzQ4nyz— Luis Fernando (@LuiUrbina) June 3, 2018
The huge plumes of smoke that could be seen from various parts of the country and the ash that fell in four of Guatemala’s departments caused alarm among residents.
President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency response was underway, while the head of the National Disaster Prevention Authority, Sergio Cabañas, told a local radio station that a river of lava had changed course and threatened a nearby town.
#URGENTE ((video)) Inpresionante bajada de lahar por erupción del #VolcánDeFuego @ConredGuatemala @prensa_libre @PublinewsGT @TN23NOTICIAS @Noti7Guatemala @ClimaenGuate @AlertaGt502 @susanamorazan @GladysR_gtv @Guatevision_tv pic.twitter.com/mVEkPn28IR— Pampichí News (@PampichiNews) June 3, 2018
“It’s a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people,” said Cabañas. “We are evacuating and rescuing people and have reports of 20 wounded, six dead and disappeared.”