Six dead as 'Volcano of Fire' erupts in Guatemala

Guatemala volcano erupts suddenly, multiple deaths

A search was underway for the missing, though first responders efforts were hindered by the lava flow, officials said.

"We are evacuating and rescuing people and have reports of 20 wounded, six dead and disappeared", said Mr Cabanas.

A river of lava destroyed homes and burnt people inside as the Fuego volcano pumped black smoke into skies southwest of Guatemala City this morning.

A view of an eruption of the Fuego volcano in Alotenango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala, 03 June 2018. Firefighters said they had seen some people who were trapped, but roads leading to the area were cut by pyroclastic flows and they had been unable to reach it. National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said seven people were confirmed dead and an unknown number were unaccounted for.

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The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 3,763 metres above sea level at its peak.

One video published by news outlet Telediario, purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village, showed three bodies strewn atop the remnants of the flow as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud.

The runway was closed due to the presence of volcanic ash and in order to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a tweet.

Ash has effected not only Guatemala City but the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and the popular tourist destination colonial town Antigua. The news outlet also said the Guatemalan military was providing help which includes clearing volcanic ash from La Aurora airport's runway.

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This is the second time the volcano has erupted this year.

Photos shared on social media show huge plumes of smoke rising into the sky. "This is an bad place to be, if you are ever around an erupting volcano like this and you see a cloud moving along the ground towards you, RUN".

Explosions are still coming from the volcano, said Eddy Sánchez, director of the National Institute for Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology of Guatemala known as INSIVUMEH.

Some 3,100 people evacuated nearby communities, and the eruption was affecting an area with a population of about 1.7 million people.

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