Airport Closed as La Palma Volcano Intensifies

Madrid, Intensifying volcanic explosions have forced the airport on the Spanish island of La Palma to be closed.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano started erupting last Sunday with thousands evacuated and more than 350 homes destroyed.

A thick plume of smoke now extends four kilometres (2.4 miles) into the air.

Clouds of thick ash have made flights out of the airport impossible, local authorities said.

The closure has prevented some leaving the island’s airport, which mostly handles many tourist flights and connections to other islands in the Canaries.

Long queues formed at the terminal as flights were cancelled, and some travellers tried to get ferries off the island. No fatalities have been reported.

The volcano is entering a fresh explosive phase, spewing lava from a newly opened vent, officials said.

Airport operators said ash accumulation has made the airport “inoperative”, but that a clean-up operation is underway. Workers are sweeping volcanic ash from the runway.

The volcano lies in the south of La Palma island, which is home to around 80,000 people.

It last erupted 50 years ago, in 1971. Scientists are unsure how long this eruption will last, BBC news reported.

Source: Oman News Agency