Etna spews fire and ash over Sicily, shutting down air traffic

Catania, Italy - The Etna volcano on the southern Italian island of Sicily put on a spectacular show on Tuesday night, spewing fire and ash in the air after an explosion on the volcano's south-east side.

Mount Etna in Italy is Europe's most active volcano.
Mount Etna in Italy is Europe's most active volcano.  © IMAGO / Independent Photo Agency Int.

Local news and social media users shared photos and videos of a huge smoke cloud rising from the volcano's crater and lava flowing down its slope. No injuries or damages were reported.

Ash rained down on houses, streets, and balconies across the city.

According to the news agency Adnkronos, the lava flow reached an altitude of about 6,500 feet.

The airport in Catania temporarily ceased operations due to ash in the air. The Ansa news agency reported that a column of smoke and ash had risen over a mile into the sky, making it unsafe to fly.

Ash rained down on streets, houses, and balconies

The Catania airport reopened on Wednesday morning, according to its website.

Authorities continue to monitor the volcano's activity, but the situation is under control, media reports said.

The volcano is located in eastern Sicily, and Catania is one of the larger cities in the area, with a population of more than 300,000.

It's not uncommon for Etna, which is 10,991 feet tall, to erupt. The Sicilian volcano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Independent Photo Agency Int.

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