Volcanic eruption in Guatemala kills 1, 3 missing

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on May 28, 2010 11:18 am

Rocks emitting from a volcano in Guatemala kill a television reporter crush village rooftops, and cause 1,600 people to evacuate.


Television reporter Anibal Archila was hit by a shower of burning rocks as he stood reporting next to a lava river, surrounded by burning trees, about 15 miles south of Guatemala City, said David de Leon, a spokesman for the national disaster committee.  He also reported that three children are missing, according to AP.


“We thought we wouldn’t survive. Our houses crumbled and we’ve lost everything,” said Brenda Castaneda, who said she and her family hid under beds and tables as marble-sized rocks thundered down on her home.


1,600 villagers have been moved to shelters.  The 8,373 mountain, Pacaya, has spread 3 inches of ash over some parts of Guatemala City.  Residents are suing shovels to clean their cars and roofs.  City officials are begging residents not to dump their bags of ash into the sewer systems.  Residents are asked not to leave their homes for the time being.   Flights out of La Aurora airport are cancelled as crews clean up the mess.  Mundo Maya airport in northern Guatemala and Comalapa airport in El Salvador will take the diverted flights.  The plume, reported to be about 12 miles long, isn’t expected to disrupt neighboring airports as was the case in Iceland’s eruption last month.


Pacaya is the most active of Guatemala’s 32 volcanoes, and is a popular tourist spot for hiking.