Great Britain

La Palma volcano latest: Canary Island flights cancelled with lava to hit sea and spew toxic gas as thousands evacuated

LAVA BLAST

LAVA is set to pour into the sea around La Palma and spew out tonnes of toxic gas as the eruption of La Cumbre Vieja volcano, continues.

Shipping has been suspended in the area around the Canary Islands as a precaution and flights to and from the Canary Islands have been suspended.

Brits have had to flee for their lives and were taken to the nearby island of Tenerife to escape the flames.

Huge red plumes topped with black-and-white smoke shot out, as a river of lava flowed from the La Cumbre Vieja volcano, on La Palma forcing 5,000 people to be evacuated.

Homes have been destroyed as the boiling liquid continues to ooze across the island destroying everything in its path.

Brits planning to travel to and from the luxury holiday destination have been put on alert after the volcanic activity in the last week. 

Read our La Palma volcano live blog below for the latest updates...

  • "THE ISLAND IS OPEN" DESPITE CHAOS

    Despite the destruction Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said the island is still open to tourists.

    She told Canal Sur radio: "The island is open, if your hotel is affected we will find you another one.

    "Make the most of this opportunity to enjoy what nature has brought us."

  • LAVA HAS DESTROYED AT LEAST 100 HOMES

    The slow-moving lava has already destroyed around 100 homes on the hillsides of La Palma.

    The lava was moving at 700 meters (2,300 feet) per hour, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute earlier today.

    Officials said they expected it to reach the Atlantic Ocean around sunset, where it could cause explosions and produce clouds of acidic steam. Scientists monitoring the lava measured it at more than 1,000 C (more than 1,800 F).

  • NEW LAVA STREAM ERUPTS FROM VOLCANO

    A new stream of lava erupted from the volcano late on Monday, prompting the evacuation of residents in the town of El Paso, the regional emergency agency wrote on Twitter.

    The volcano first erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of metres into the air, engulfing forests and sending molten rock towards the ocean over a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the northwesternmost island in the Canaries archipelago.

    No fatalities or injuries have been reported but drone footage captured two tongues of black lava cutting a devastating swathe through the landscape as they advanced down the volcano's western flank towards the sea.

    A Reuters witness saw the flow of molten rock slowly tear its way through a house in the village of Los Campitos, igniting the interior and sending flames through the windows and onto the roof.

  • WHY DID THE VOLCANO START ERUPTING?

    La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sunday, September 19, 2021, and is still exploding Monday, September 20.

    The latest explosion occurred as a result of an earthquake under the volcano’s base on September 11, 2021, that slowly migrated to the surface.

    More than 20,000 earthquakes were registered in one week, Reuters reports, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses in two villages in the south of the island.

    Authorities began evacuating the vulnerable and some farm animals around 3.15pm local time on September 19.

  • PICTURED: APOCALYPTIC SCENES AS LA PALMA VOLCANO ERUPTION SENDS 1,000C LAVA TOWARDS TOWN FORCING 500 TOURISTS FLEEING

    Huge red plumes topped with black and white smoke shot out of the La Cumbre Vieja volcano on Sunday afternoon as a river of scorching lava flowed down the mountain and swallowed 20 houses in the village of El Paso.

    Local authorities have evacuated about 5,000 people from four villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane, Canary Islands regional president Angel Victor Torres said on Monday morning.

    Around 500 tourists were rescued from a hotel in the coastal resort of Puerto Naos and offered emergency accommodation in an old barracks in Santa Cruz.

  • WHAT HAS THE FOREIGN OFFICE SAID?

    The British government has issued a warning to holidaymakers planning to travel to and from the luxury holiday destination after the volcano started rumbling and showing signs of activity last week.

    The government said last night: “On Sunday 19 September 2021, at approximately 15.15 local time, there was a volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma. 

    “The immediate area of Cabeza de Vaca, El Paso has been evacuated.

    “If you are in an affected area you should follow the advice of local authorities, including social media updates from Cabildo de La Palma.

    “If you are planning to travel to the island imminently you are encouraged to contact your tour operators and airlines.”

  • SHOCK MAP SHOWS HOW LA PALMA WAS HIT BY HUNDREDS OF EARTHQUAKES IN JUST 15 HOURS IN 2018

    A startling map from the National Geographic Institute (NGI) shows exactly where the tremors hit the island back in 2018 – mainly near the slopes of the massive Cumbre Vieja.

    There were 44 “official” earthquakes recorded of up to 2.1 magnitude on the sun-soaked island between Friday at 1.52pm and Saturday at 4.17am of the first week of August 2018.

    Read more here.

  • PEDRO SANCHEZ VISITS AREA AND PRAISES SCIENTISTS WHO MONITORED ERUPTION

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited the affected area on Monday after cancelling a trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

    He praised scientists for monitoring the eruption, saying their work was “fundamental” in avoiding casualties, and promised that his government would help local people rebuild their lives.

    The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption shortly after 3pm on Sunday near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971.

    A 4.2-magnitude quake was recorded before the eruption, which took place in an area known as Cabeza de Vaca on the western slope as the ridge descends to the coast.

  • EXPLAINED: WHEN HAS THE VOLCANO PREVIOUSLY ERUPTED?

    Cumbre Vieja has exploded twice previously: once in 1949 and again in 1971.

    The first eruption took place on June 24, 1949 and lasted for more than a week.

    The onset of the eruption was witnessed by a shepard tending his flock on a flank of the volcanic mountainside and was, too, caused by earthquakes.

    The 1971 eruption occurred at the southern end of Cumbre Vieja.

  • “THE ISLAND IS OPEN” DESPITE CHAOS

    Despite the destruction Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said the island is still open to tourists.

    She told Canal Sur radio: “The island is open, if your hotel is affected we will find you another one.

    “Make the most of this opportunity to enjoy what nature has brought us.”

  • TOWN MAYOR DESCRIBES ‘WALL OF LAVA’

    Mariano Hernandez, the major of the town of Cabildo, described the scene in the area affected by the lava as “bleak.”

    He said a wall of lava “is consuming houses, infrastructure, crops in its path to the coast”.

    The Military Emergencies Unit is increasing its deployment on La Palma to 180 soldiers and 57 vehicles.

  • “THIS IS A CATASTROPHE.”

    One of the houses that was destroyed by the lava flow was that of Alberto, a man in his forties who lives in El Paraíso.

    He had nervously awaited news of his property last night, saying: “yesterday I was unsure, but today they confirmed that the lava has swallowed up my house.

    “This is a catastrophe.”

    Among the 5,000 people were Gerhard Beck and his wife. They ended up at a military camp after a night of being constantly moved from one place to another.

    “We don’t know what happened to our house, but we fear the worst… We are going to a hotel for two days now. They have treated us well, but we’ve been very scared, really scared”, he explained.

    They were evacuated from their homes yesterday, and along with 300 other people spent the night at the El Fuerte barracks on the outskirts of the island capital.

  • LAVA HAS SLOWED DOWN AND WILL NOT REACH OCEAN TONIGHT

    Lava from a volcano that erupted on the Spanish island of La Palma was advancing slower than originally anticipated and will not reach the Atlantic Ocean tonight as it had been predicted earlier, regional emergency officials said on Monday.

    The lava stream is approximately half way between the volcano and the coastline, officials said. They had previously warned of possible explosions and clouds of toxic gases when the lava would reach the sea.

  • THOUSANDS OF TREMORS

    A 3.8 magnitude quake was recorded before the eruption as vibrations from the seismic activity were felt on the surface.

    Last week Spain’s National Geographic Institute said it detected 4,222 tremors in what scientists are calling an earthquake swarm around La Palma island since last Saturday.

    Since last Saturday, there have been almost a thousand earthquakes on the islands.

  • EXPLAINED: WHERE IS LA PALMA?

    The island forms part of the Canary Islands of Spain, which are located off the northwestern coast of Africa.

    It falls under the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and has a large volcanic caldera about 6 miles in diameter that was established as a national park.

    The island is a tourist hotspot for Brit holidaymakers who flock to its beaches every summer.

    The average time for a direct flight from London to La Palma is just under four-and-a-half hours and they regularly leave from the capital every day.

    La Palma’s economy revolves around irrigation-based farming and bananas, tomatoes, and tobacco along with embroidery are its biggest exports.

  • LAVA HAS DESTROYED AT LEAST 100 HOMES

    The slow-moving lava has already destroyed around 100 homes on the hillsides of La Palma.

    The lava was moving at 700 meters (2,300 feet) per hour, according to the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute earlier today.

    Officials said they expected it to reach the Atlantic Ocean around sunset, where it could cause explosions and produce clouds of acidic steam. Scientists monitoring the lava measured it at more than 1,000 C (more than 1,800 F).

  • FLIGHTS CANCELLED

    Canary Islands’ local airline Binter has said its cancelled four flights to and from the island of La Gomera after a volcanic eruption projected ashes and smoke on the neighbouring island of La Palma.

  • TOWN MAYOR DESCRIBES ‘WALL OF LAVA’

    Mariano Hernandez, the major of the town of Cabildo, described the scene in the area affected by the lava as “bleak.”

    He said a wall of lava “is consuming houses, infrastructure, crops in its path to the coast”.

    The Military Emergencies Unit is increasing its deployment on La Palma to 180 soldiers and 57 vehicles.

  • PEDRO SANCHEZ VISITS AREA AND PRAISES SCIENTISTS WHO MONITORED ERUPTION

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited the affected area on Monday after cancelling a trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

    He praised scientists for monitoring the eruption, saying their work was "fundamental" in avoiding casualties, and promised that his government would help local people rebuild their lives.

    The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption shortly after 3pm on Sunday near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971.

    A 4.2-magnitude quake was recorded before the eruption, which took place in an area known as Cabeza de Vaca on the western slope as the ridge descends to the coast.

  • “THE ISLAND IS OPEN” DESPITE CHAOS

    Despite the destruction Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said the island is still open to tourists.

    She told Canal Sur radio: “The island is open, if your hotel is affected we will find you another one.

    “Make the most of this opportunity to enjoy what nature has brought us.”

  • IN PICTURES: LA PALMA BURNS AS THE LAVA TEARS THROUGH TOWNS AND VILLAGES

  • WARNING TO BRITS

    The British government has issued a warning to holidaymakers planning to travel to and from the luxury holiday destination after the volcano started rumbling and showing signs of activity last week.

    The government said last night: “On Sunday 19 September 2021, at approximately 15.15 local time, there was a volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma. 

    “The immediate area of Cabeza de Vaca, El Paso has been evacuated.

    “If you are in an affected area you should follow the advice of local authorities, including social media updates from Cabildo de La Palma.

    “If you are planning to travel to the island imminently you are encouraged to contact your tour operators and airlines.”

    An evacuation plan was launched on Sunday after the eruption and emergency services urged people remain calm, keep their doors and windows closed and keep key documents on them.

  • WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE VOLCANO ERUPTED?

    Cumbre Vieja has exploded twice previously: once in 1949 and again in 1971.

    The first eruption took place on June 24, 1949, and lasted for more than a week.

    The onset of the eruption was witnessed by a shepherd tending his flock on a flank of the volcanic mountainside and was, too, caused by earthquakes.

    The 1971 eruption occurred at the southern end of Cumbre Vieja.

  • WHERE IS LA PALMA?

    La Palma is part of the Canary Islands and around 80 miles west of Tenerife.

    Although the islands are part of Spain they are closer to the coast of Morocco and the western Sahara in the Atlantic Ocean.

  • WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE VOLCANO ERUPTED?

    La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sunday, September 19, 2021, and is still exploding Monday, September 20.

    The latest explosion occurred as a result of an earthquake under the volcano’s base on September 11, 2021, that slowly migrated to the surface.

    More than 20,000 earthquakes were registered in one week, Reuters reports, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses in two villages in the south of the island.

    Authorities began evacuating the vulnerable and some farm animals around 3.15pm local time on September 19.

    Two hours later, lava spilled down the hillside from five fissures, leading to the evacuation of the towns El paso and Los Llanos de Aridane.

    Night-time video footage showed lava shooting hundreds of metres into the sky and at least three lava-deluged rivers of molten rock pouring down the hill.

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