More than two dozen people were killed and hundreds more injured in Guatemala on Sunday after one of the country’s biggest and most active volcanoes randomly erupted.
The fiery explosion sent large plumes of smoke and ash thousands of feet into the air — and “a river of lava” through El Rodeo village near Guatemala City, according to local officials.
“There are injured, burned and dead people,” said Sergio Cabanas, general secretary of Guatemala’s CONRED disaster management agency.
A spokesman told the Agence France Presse that 25 were dead as of 11 p.m. EST and nearly 300 hurt. The victims included at least three children, two of whom burned to death while watching the eruption from a bridge.
“Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven’t been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too,” Cabanas explained, speaking on local radio.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed bodies strewn atop the lava flow, which was around 5 miles long at one point.
The volcano that erupted is dubbed the Fuego volcano, which means “fire” in English. It went off earlier this year as well, but no one was injured and the volcanic activity ended after about 20 hours.
Authorities expected the death toll to rise Sunday as the volcano continued to spew ash and hot lava into the late evening hours.
The eruption is estimated to affect about 1.7 million people, according to officials, with most living in the colonial city of Antigua and nearby Guatemala City, the country’s capital.
“Currently the volcano continues to erupt and there exists a high potential for (pyroclastic) avalanches of debris,” CONRED tweeted, quoting local officials.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales plans to issue a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.
Credit: NY Post