Dozens of people dive into sea to escape Stromboli volcano eruption in Italy

Dozens of people dive into sea to escape Stromboli volcano eruption in Italy

July 3, 2019

One person died and dozens of others threw themselves into the sea when a volcano on the Sicilian island of Stromboli violently exploded Wednesday.

Massimo Imbesi, a 35-year-old from Milazzo in Sicily was killed in the eruption and a Brazilian friend who was with him was badly injured, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The volcano is known to be active, but the two blasts reported by Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology around 10:30 a.m. were particularly powerful, and sent ash and embers raining down on the tourist hot spot.

“It was like being in hell because of the rain of fire coming from the sky,” priest Giovanni Longo told local outlets, according to Agence France-Presse.

The explosions were preceded by lava spills “from all active mouths of the crater,” the INGV said, prompting a 6,000-foot-tall high plume of thick, white smoke.

As molten rocks flowed from the crater, at least 30 tourists flung themselves into the ocean for safety and other people barricaded themselves inside homes, ANSA and Reuters reported.

About 70 people were evacuated from the hamlet of Ginostra on Stromboli.

Meanwhile, firefighters battled blazes sparked by the explosions in different areas of the island.

The Stromboli volcano, which shares a name with the island it inhabits, is one of three main active volcanoes in Italy. The others are Etna on Sicily and Vesuvius near Naples.

Stromboli was made famous in a namesake 1950 film by Roberto Rosselini, starring Ingrid Bergman, and has become a popular tourist destination, with thousands visiting each year.

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