Rome.- Several people were injured on Thursday in an explosion at the crater of the Italian volcano Mount Etna, located in the east of Sicily. Among those injured was a BBC science correspondent, Rebecca Morelle, who tweeted that around eight people were injured when a lava flow mixed explosively with steam, shooting rocks into the air which then rained down on the crowd.
“Running down a mountain pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam _ not an experience I ever ever want to repeat,” she said.
According to Morelle, everyone was removed from the mountain very quickly by efficient rescue teams and the worst the BBC team suffered was cuts and bruises.
She said a vulcanologist who was there with them told her it was the most dangerous thing he had experienced in his 30-year-long career.
“Incident could have been worse _ explosions like this have killed _ but seems minor injuries for now,” she said, adding that there was a big cloud of ash over the mountain after the blast and the column of smoke could be seen from far away.
The explosion occurred when a lava flow came into contact with snow that was blocking the crater, which melted and became steam.
According to the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Mt. Etna has entered a new phase in its eruption process since Tuesday.
The Institute published images that showed a crater belching ash and lava in columns up to 200 meters (656 feet) high.
Mt. Etna is thought to be Europe’s most active volcano, and its latest eruption was registered on Feb. 28.