Tourists, frightened by the unexpected explosion on the small Mediterranean island, fled their hotels. "We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar," said 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. Fires were reported on the western side of the island and it was not immediately clear if there were any injuries.
INGV expert Stefano Branca told Reuters there had been a "paroxysmal eruption" on the island when high-pressure magma explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir. "These are events of great intensity and quite rare," he said. The island was the setting for a 1950 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and, with other islands in the Aeolian archipelago, has become a favourite location in recent decades for holiday homes for the rich and famous.
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