Rome, 16 March (IANS/AKI) At least 10 persons, including tourists and members of a BBC film crew, were injured in a "huge" explosion at erupting volcano Mount Etna in the Italian island of Sicily.
"Lava flow mixed with steam -- caused huge explosion -- group pelted with boiling rocks and steam," tweeted BBC science reporter Rachel Morelle on Thursday.
"Many injured -- some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises. Volcanologist said most dangerous incident experience in his 30 year career," read another tweet from Morelle.
Morelle said all those involved in the eruption were "okay" and had been brought of the mountain safely by an "excellent rescue team".
She said a guide had suffered a dislocated shoulder, while a 78-year-old woman had been very close to the blast, but managed to get away safely. Six people were taken to hospital in Catania and Acireale but doctors said their condition was not serious.
Morelle said a big ash cloud was visible above Etna and the plume from the explosion was visible a long way off. Bright orange lava from the volcano could reportedly be seen in the city of Catania and the resort town of Taormina.
The lava had mixed with some snow, causing a small explosion and then a larger one. Members of the group ran down the mountain, trying to reach the safety of a snow mobile, Morelle tweeted.
The Catania operation centre of Italy's volcanology institute confirmed that three of its experts had been on Mount Etna and some had suffered injuries in the explosion.
One of the world's most active volcanoes, Mount Etna spewed lava up into the sky in the early hours of Thursday for the third time this year after it began erupting in late February.
At 3,330 metres, it is the highest volcano in Europe.