Tourists and BBC crew suffer minor injuries in Mount Etna blast

A BBC crew was among ten people injured after a flow of lava triggered an explosion when it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily on Thursday.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, four people including three German tourists were hospitalised, mostly with head injuries - though none of the injuries was listed as grave.

A volcanologist at the scene told her it was the most risky incident he had experienced in his 30-year-career.

Morelle noted that similar explosions had killed people in the past.

Etna is Europe's most active volcano.

Among those near the summit of Mount Etna when it began to erupt was a 76-year-old woman who was able to rush to safety.

BBC global science correspondent Rebecca Morelle said on Twitter after the incident that six BBC team members suffered non-life threatening injuries and several were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Ten people were injured Thursday by an explosion from one of the craters of Etna which is now active, local sources said. In this case, hot lava spewed into the snow, creating steam that unexpectedly caused the high-pressure explosion.

Mountain rescue teams were sent to save the group and treat the injured following what is believed to be one of the largest eruptions in recent years.

Italy's volcanology institute said it was continuing to monitor the phenomenon.

It is not known what the BBC crew were doing at the volcano.

Volcanologists said Wednesday's eruption was "Strombolian", meaning it saw explosive bursts of activity during which cinder, ash and smoke are ejected from the crater with great force.

  • Elsie Buchanan