Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Death toll climbs from volcano's explosions of ash, molten rock in Guatemala

Death toll climbs from volcano's explosions of ash, molten rock in Guatemala

A search was underway for the missing, though first responders efforts were hindered by the lava flow, officials said.

Six people are dead and 20 have been injured after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted on Sunday.

The Volcán de Fuego has spewed a stream of lava into a nearby village and sent a column of smoke and ash into the sky.

Volcan de Fuego, which translates to "volano of fire" exploded just before noon on Sunday, 27 miles from Guatemala City.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas had previously confirmed that seven people were dead and an unknown number were unaccounted for. Some 3,100 people have been evacuated from the area.

One video published by news outlet Telediario purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village showed three bodies strewn atop a lava flow, as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud. "There are injured, burned and dead people", he said.

An employee sweeps the entrance of a gas station covered with ash after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently, in Guatemala City, Guatemala June 3, 2018. Streets and houses were covered in the colonial town of Antigua.

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The conical Volcan de Fuego is 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak.

The capital's worldwide airport has also been closed due to the danger the ash poses to planes.

The Guatemalan military said it was providing assistance including clearing volcanic ash from the airport's runway.

Workers and guests were evacuated from the La Reunion golf club near Antigua.

Photos shared on social media show huge plumes of smoke rising into the sky. Eddy Sanchez, director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius).

David de Leon, spokesman for the National Disaster Prevention Authority said a change in wind was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the city. "This is an very bad place to be, if you are ever around an erupting volcano like this and you see a cloud moving along the ground towards you, RUN".

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