Two hikers die on erupting volcano on France's Reunion island

A helicopter flying over Piton de la Fournaise volcano as lava erupts on April 10, 2021, on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion. PHOTO: AFP

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION (AFP) - Two young hikers were found dead on Thursday (April 22) on the erupting volcano of Piton de la Fournaise on France's Indian Ocean territory of Le Reunion, police said.

The hikers, both in their 20s, had set out on a walking trip on the volcano in the south-east of the island, but were found dead in the volcano's main caldera, the hollow formed after magma erupts, a statement said.

The cause of death was not immediately clear.

The sight of the volcano, whose eruption began on April 10, has proved a major local attraction despite Covid-19 restrictions.

The two had been due to meet their families on Wednesday at a carpark next to the volcano, but they never appeared at the meeting place, prompting the families to call the police.

Accidents involving hikers on the volcano are relatively common but are rarely fatal.

One of these came in 2003, when a young man was burned to death after falling into a crevasse near a lava flow.

The victim had wanted to photograph the eruption.

The Piton de la Fournaise, located in an uninhabited area in the south-east of the island, has erupted around 20 times over the last decade, and its violent bursts of activity often prompt stunning lava flows.

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