STROMBOLI (Italy) • The village of Ginostra on Stromboli began sweeping away layers of ash yesterday, a day after a dramatic volcanic eruption on the tiny Italian island killed a hiker.
On Wednesday, around 1,000 tourists fled the island aboard ferries to the nearby Calabrian coast. Seventy people were evacuated from Ginostra on the volcano's south-west flank. Many left without their identity papers and luggage.
Sicilian hiker Massimo Imbesi, 35, died when he was caught in the eruption's flow of hot rocks and fumes, while his Brazilian walking companion suffered from shock, emergency services said. Several people were injured, though none serious, they said.
Emergency workers yesterday brushed and scooped volcanic cinders from streets and the tiny harbour in the village at the foot of the still-smoking volcano.
A veil of ash lay atop restaurant terrace tables and parts of the coastline.
"We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar," said Ms Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico Grande, on the east side of the island. "We plugged our ears and after this, a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud," she said.
Water-bombing planes battled to put out fires started by two massive explosions which on Wednesday sent plumes of smoke 2km into the sky.
"We've dropped 320 water loads and we're continuing," said forestry official Giovanni Giacoppo.
People were urged not to swim in the sea yesterday because of the risk of mini tsunamis similar to those caused by previous eruptions.
Vulcanologists and locals told Italian media that the volcano was unlikely to erupt again in the near future.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS