Home | Australia | Guatemala volcano 'Volcan de Fuego' erupts and kills 25

Guatemala volcano 'Volcan de Fuego' erupts and kills 25

  • Volcan de Fuego, which translates to ‘volcano of fire’, exploded on Sunday just 27 miles from Guatemala City
  • At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds injured with areas nearby blanketed in clouds of ash
  • Four died as their house was set on fire and two children died watching the eruption from a nearby bridge
  • Search and rescue operations were resuming this morning after being suspended due to low light last night
  • British backpacker Richard Fitz-Hugh was climbing a nearby peak and missed the eruption by hours 

Associated Press

and
Marlene Lenthang For Dailymail.com

At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds of others hurt after a volcano in Guatemala exploded in a fiery display of ash and lava.

Volcan de Fuego, which translates to ‘volcano of fire’, exploded just before noon on Sunday, 27 miles from Guatemala City, in a hail of ash and molten rock before lava began flowing down the slopes and across homes and roads. It is the second time the volcano has erupted this year.

The volcano, known to be one of Central America’s most active, has destroyed homes and blanketed nearby villages in soot as it sent clouds of ash six miles into the air. 

Search and rescue operations for the missing and dead were resuming this morning after they had to be suspended due to low light and dangerous conditions last night. An undetermined number of people are still unaccounted for. 

Eddy Sanchez, director of the country’s seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows from the eruption reached temperatures of about 1,300F (700C). Experts  said the eruption ended after over 16 hours of activity, but warned that it could resume again.

A huge cloud of ash erupts from Volcan de Fuego - Volcano of Fire - in an explosion which has killed at least 25 people 

A huge cloud of ash erupts from Volcan de Fuego - Volcano of Fire - in an explosion which has killed at least 25 people 

A huge cloud of ash erupts from Volcan de Fuego – Volcano of Fire – in an explosion which has killed at least 25 people 

A rescue worker helps a woman covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala

A rescue worker helps a woman covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala

A rescue worker helps a woman covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala

A volunteer firefighter carries a child to safety in the aftermath of Sunday's huge volcano explosion in Guatemala

A volunteer firefighter carries a child to safety in the aftermath of Sunday's huge volcano explosion in Guatemala

A volunteer firefighter carries a child to safety in the aftermath of Sunday’s huge volcano explosion in Guatemala

A police officer carries a baby to safety in El Rodeo as the volcano explosion threw ash over the surrounding area

A police officer carries a baby to safety in El Rodeo as the volcano explosion threw ash over the surrounding area

A police officer carries a baby to safety in El Rodeo as the volcano explosion threw ash over the surrounding area

Guatemalan National Army personnel evacuate a victim of the eruption as the surrounding area is blanketed by ash 

Guatemalan National Army personnel evacuate a victim of the eruption as the surrounding area is blanketed by ash 

Guatemalan National Army personnel evacuate a victim of the eruption as the surrounding area is blanketed by ash 

Volcan de Fuego exploded Sunday 27 miles away from Guatemala City, killing at least 25 people and injuring 20 others

Volcan de Fuego exploded Sunday 27 miles away from Guatemala City, killing at least 25 people and injuring 20 others

Volcan de Fuego exploded Sunday 27 miles away from Guatemala City, killing at least 25 people and injuring 20 others

Volcano Fuego is one of the most active in Central America, pictured belching ash and rock

Volcano Fuego is one of the most active in Central America, pictured belching ash and rock

Volcano Fuego is one of the most active in Central America, pictured belching ash and rock

Fidelina Lopez, right, is consoled by her daughter Claudia in a shelter near the Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

Fidelina Lopez, right, is consoled by her daughter Claudia in a shelter near the Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

Fidelina Lopez, right, is consoled by her daughter Claudia in a shelter near the Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

Firefighters in Alotenango pray as they respond to the enormous volcanic eruption in Guatemala on Sunday 

Firefighters in Alotenango pray as they respond to the enormous volcanic eruption in Guatemala on Sunday 

Firefighters in Alotenango pray as they respond to the enormous volcanic eruption in Guatemala on Sunday 

The volcano exploded just before noon and lava flows follows hours afterwards, the thick cloud of ash pictured from Alotenango above 

The volcano exploded just before noon and lava flows follows hours afterwards, the thick cloud of ash pictured from Alotenango above 

The volcano exploded just before noon and lava flows follows hours afterwards, the thick cloud of ash pictured from Alotenango above 

The eruption sent lava flows into nearby areas and covered communities in clouds of ash

The eruption sent lava flows into nearby areas and covered communities in clouds of ash

The eruption sent lava flows into nearby areas and covered communities in clouds of ash

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after the volcano's eruption on Sunday 

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after the volcano's eruption on Sunday 

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after the volcano’s eruption on Sunday 

In this image the Volcan de Fuego can be seen spewing lava from its crater on Sunday

In this image the Volcan de Fuego can be seen spewing lava from its crater on Sunday

In this image the Volcan de Fuego can be seen spewing lava from its crater on Sunday

A Guatemalan rescue team worker carries a girl in El Rodeo, Escuintla, during the rescue operation on Sunday 

A Guatemalan rescue team worker carries a girl in El Rodeo, Escuintla, during the rescue operation on Sunday 

A Guatemalan rescue team worker carries a girl in El Rodeo, Escuintla, during the rescue operation on Sunday 

A worker from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala assists people in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A worker from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala assists people in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A worker from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala assists people in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A group of workers from the rescue teams of Guatemala help a wounded person in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A group of workers from the rescue teams of Guatemala help a wounded person in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A group of workers from the rescue teams of Guatemala help a wounded person in El Rodeo, Escuintla

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala on Sunday 

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala on Sunday 

A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala on Sunday 

A thick cloud of ash spews out of the Volcan de Fuego as seen from near a petrol station at the foot of the mountain

A thick cloud of ash spews out of the Volcan de Fuego as seen from near a petrol station at the foot of the mountain

A thick cloud of ash spews out of the Volcan de Fuego as seen from near a petrol station at the foot of the mountain

Firefighters regroup after working on the evacuation of residents near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

Firefighters regroup after working on the evacuation of residents near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

Firefighters regroup after working on the evacuation of residents near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango

The eruption has already killed 25 people, CONRED, the government’s national coordinator for disaster reduction, said late on Sunday.

The eruption of the 3,763-meter (12,346-foot) volcano sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees grey and blanketing streets, cars and people.

Sacatepequez television showed images of the volcano’s damage including the charred landscape and three bodies lying partially buried in ash-colored debris from the volcano.

Among the fatalities were four people – including a disaster agency official – killed when lava set a house on fire in El Rodeo village, and two children who were burned to death as they watched the volcano’s second eruption this year from a bridge, Cabanas said. 

Another victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters and later died in an ambulance. 

Israel said on Monday it was sending emergency aid worth $10,000 to Guatemala to buy emergency equipment including medication, food and blankets.

A Briton said he felt ‘fortunate’ to have escaped harm after he trekked to the base camp of Acatenango, which lies around two miles from the deadly Volcan de Fuego, the day before the explosion.

Richard Fitz-Hugh, a backpacker from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, said: ‘It was fine then, erupting as normal with lava flows but it was a lot worse today.

‘We knew it was active, it’s all part of the experience, you go up and see the lava, that’s the point of climbing Acatenango.

‘We heard there were a couple of people who were coming down early this morning when it started raining small volcanic rocks up to the size of your palm.

‘I don’t know anyone who has been physically harmed [on Acatenango], but obviously it wouldn’t be completely safe being up high today – I’m sort of fortunate that I did it before.’ 

British backpacker Richard Fitz Hugh's view of the volcano after he trekked up a neighbouring mountain

British backpacker Richard Fitz Hugh's view of the volcano after he trekked up a neighbouring mountain

British backpacker Richard Fitz Hugh’s view of the volcano after he trekked up a neighbouring mountain

Ruth Rivas, who says she has two missing children, is consoled by a neighbor in a shelter near the volcano on Sunday

Ruth Rivas, who says she has two missing children, is consoled by a neighbor in a shelter near the volcano on Sunday

Ruth Rivas, who says she has two missing children, is consoled by a neighbor in a shelter near the volcano on Sunday

Distraught locals flee El Rodeo village while covered in ash after the volcano erupted around 12pm on Sunday

Distraught locals flee El Rodeo village while covered in ash after the volcano erupted around 12pm on Sunday

Distraught locals flee El Rodeo village while covered in ash after the volcano erupted around 12pm on Sunday

The 'Volcano of Fire' blows out a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala on Sunday afternoon

The 'Volcano of Fire' blows out a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala on Sunday afternoon

The ‘Volcano of Fire’ blows out a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala on Sunday afternoon

A police officer carries a baby away from the damage left by the Fuego Volcano in El Rodeo

A police officer carries a baby away from the damage left by the Fuego Volcano in El Rodeo

A police officer carries a baby away from the damage left by the Fuego Volcano in El Rodeo

A soldier takes a rescued child covered with ash to a hospital after the eruption on Sunday afternoon

A soldier takes a rescued child covered with ash to a hospital after the eruption on Sunday afternoon

A soldier takes a rescued child covered with ash to a hospital after the eruption on Sunday afternoon

Police officers carry away the body of a wounded man who is covered entirely in ash 

Police officers carry away the body of a wounded man who is covered entirely in ash 

Police officers carry away the body of a wounded man who is covered entirely in ash 

A volunteer firefighter carries away a child following the eruption of the volcano in El Rodeo

A volunteer firefighter carries away a child following the eruption of the volcano in El Rodeo

A volunteer firefighter carries away a child following the eruption of the volcano in El Rodeo

Around 20 people have been hurt in the volcano eruption and undetermined number of people is missing, a fireman pictured being evacuated from Porvenir village after the explosion

Around 20 people have been hurt in the volcano eruption and undetermined number of people is missing, a fireman pictured being evacuated from Porvenir village after the explosion

Around 20 people have been hurt in the volcano eruption and undetermined number of people is missing, a fireman pictured being evacuated from Porvenir village after the explosion

Police wearing protective masks block access to the village of Porvenir after the eruption blanketed it in ash

Police wearing protective masks block access to the village of Porvenir after the eruption blanketed it in ash

Police wearing protective masks block access to the village of Porvenir after the eruption blanketed it in ash

Police carry an evacuee in Alotenango as the eruption of one of Central America's most active volcanoes sent locals fleeing

Police carry an evacuee in Alotenango as the eruption of one of Central America's most active volcanoes sent locals fleeing

Police carry an evacuee in Alotenango as the eruption of one of Central America’s most active volcanoes sent locals fleeing

Neighbors gather outside a temporary morgue near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango Sunday

Neighbors gather outside a temporary morgue near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango Sunday

Neighbors gather outside a temporary morgue near Volcan de Fuego in Alotenango Sunday

A view of the damage in the village El Porvenir, Guatemala, after clouds of ash exploded from the top of the volcano

A view of the damage in the village El Porvenir, Guatemala, after clouds of ash exploded from the top of the volcano

A view of the damage in the village El Porvenir, Guatemala, after clouds of ash exploded from the top of the volcano

Around 3,100 people have been evacuated from nearby communities into shelters. 

Rescue teams of firefighters, police and soldiers went into the affected areas, particularly the village of El Rodeo which is located at the foot of the volcano, to rescue as many people as possible and recover bodies covered in ash. 

The eruption affects an area home to 1.7million people. Ash has affected not only Guatemala City but the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and the popular tourist destination colonial town Antigua. 

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.  

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

As the area is still reeling from the damage of the eruption, the volcano is still spewing lava, according to Eddy Sánchez, the director of the National Institute for Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology of Guatemala.

Rescue efforts have been suspended until Monday morning as darkness and rain take over the area, according to municipal firefighters’ spokesman Cecilio Chacaj. 

Ash is seen on the streets and buildings of popular tourist destination town of Antigua Sunday

Ash is seen on the streets and buildings of popular tourist destination town of Antigua Sunday

Ash is seen on the streets and buildings of popular tourist destination town of Antigua Sunday

Soldiers sweep the ash-covered tarmac at La Aurora International Airport which was closed because of the eruption

Soldiers sweep the ash-covered tarmac at La Aurora International Airport which was closed because of the eruption

Soldiers sweep the ash-covered tarmac at La Aurora International Airport which was closed because of the eruption

The airport in Guatemala City had to close its runway so that soldiers could clear away the ash from the volcano

The airport in Guatemala City had to close its runway so that soldiers could clear away the ash from the volcano

The airport in Guatemala City had to close its runway so that soldiers could clear away the ash from the volcano

People were trapped outside La Aurora international airport which closed after the eruption

People were trapped outside La Aurora international airport which closed after the eruption

People were trapped outside La Aurora international airport which closed after the eruption

Drivers make their way through a light rain of volcanic ash, as the Volcan de Fuego erupts, in Guatemala City on Sunday

Drivers make their way through a light rain of volcanic ash, as the Volcan de Fuego erupts, in Guatemala City on Sunday

Drivers make their way through a light rain of volcanic ash, as the Volcan de Fuego erupts, in Guatemala City on Sunday

City workers sweep volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, in Guatemala City Sunday

City workers sweep volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, in Guatemala City Sunday

City workers sweep volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, in Guatemala City Sunday

A woman sweeps volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, from the sidewalk in Antigua

A woman sweeps volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, from the sidewalk in Antigua

A woman sweeps volcanic ash brought by the Volcan del Fuego, from the sidewalk in Antigua

A man cleans his car from the fallen ash after the Fuego Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, erupted 

A man cleans his car from the fallen ash after the Fuego Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, erupted 

A man cleans his car from the fallen ash after the Fuego Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, erupted 

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