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Italy: Flights disrupted as Mount Etna erupts
  • Sports Desk
  • 2024-07-06 05:29:54

Sicily's main international airport suffered disruption on Friday, with it even shutting down briefly, as Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, erupted.

 Mount Etna spewed fiery lava and large columns of ash and smoke up to five kilometers into the air overnight, Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said. The flow of lava into the sea calmed down as of late Friday, INGV said.

Catania Airport said it was "unusable due to volcanic ash: both arrivals and departures are suspended," earlier in the day. Later, the airport notified travelers in an update that the airport had been reopened for departures, while arrivals were temporarily limited to two per hour.

 As well as being the most active, Mount Etna is Europe's highest volcano, at about 3,324 meters (almost 10,905 feet) tall.

Around Catania, on the eastern coast of Sicily, residents and authorities came out to clean up the streets that remained blanketed in ash. Millions of passengers transit through Catania airport every year for a taste of Sicily, which is among Italy's most popular tourist hotspots.

Stromboli volcano spews lava and ash

Meanwhile, volcanic activity on the nearby Stromboli island prompted authorities to raise the security alert system to the highest level. The Stromboli volcano, which erupts regularly and is known for near-continuous activity, spewed out lava and ash as well, INGV said.

Only a few hundred residents live on the island full-time while tourists typically travel to the famous island, known for housing holiday homes of the rich and famous, by sea from the Italian mainland or from Sicily.

Italy's civil protection agency said Stromboli was "under surveillance," adding that evacuation plans were ready in case of an emergency explosion.

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