Death Toll Climbs From Volcano’s Explosions Of Ash, Molten Rock In Guatemala

Locals driving away from the volcano 25 miles south-west of the capital Guatemala City

AFPLocals driving away from the volcano 25 miles south-west of the capital Guatemala City

One of Central America's most active volcanos has erupted in fiery explosions of ash and molten rock, killing at least seven people and injuring 20.

Earlier on Sunday, the volcano spewed black smoke and ash into the sky, prompting the evacuation of about 100 people.

Authorities in Guatemala say six people have been killed and 20 injured by the eruption of a volcano southwest of the capital.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village", said Sergio Cabanas, the general secretary of Guatemala's Conred disaster agency, according to Reuters.

Mr Cabanas said four people died when lava set a house on fire and two children perished while standing on a bridge watching the eruption.

The Volcan del Fuego, roughly 27 miles from Guatemala City, shot ash almost four miles into the sky.

"We have 7 confirmed dead, 4 adults and 3 kids, who were already taken to the morgue", said Mario Cruz, spokesman for the volunteer firefighter corps.

The volcano erupted previously this year, in February.

The eruption forced the Guatemala City's La Aurora worldwide airport to shut down its only runway due to the presence of volcanic ash and to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a Tweet.

Aviation authorities closed the capital's worldwide airport because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.

Residents have been urged to wear masks due to the falling ash.

Guatemala's disaster agency said 3100 people had evacuated from nearby communities, and ash fall from the eruption was affecting an area with a population of about 1.7 million of the country's 15m or so people.

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

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