Stromboli: One dead as volcano erupts on Italian island

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

The victim is thought to be a male hiker who was hit by a falling stone, while others 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 exploded twice. His Brazilian friend was discovered dehydrated and in a state of shock, the AGI news agency reported.

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A plume of ash exploding from Stromboli following the explosionImage copyrightEPA
Image captionAsh rising from Stromboli after the explosion
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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.

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 told Reuters.

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Smoke rising from the volcano with the island of Panarea in the frontImage copyrightAFP
Image captionView of the volcano from the nearby island of Panarea
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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.