Once we arrived in Sicily, we found that we had been in luck: Mount Etna had simply began to erupt once more.
I used to be a part of a BBC crew who had come to movie a report on volcano monitoring.
Attending to witness an woke up Etna was about as thrilling because it will get for a science correspondent. I simply didn’t intend to have fairly such an in depth encounter.
The circumstances had been excellent – blue skies and barely any wind. And as we travelled in direction of the snow-covered summit, the thunderous booms as Etna spewed magma from its south-east crater reverberated throughout.
We had come to see a lava move that had appeared in a single day. A large stream of rock, glowing purple, was oozing down the slopes – and we had been taken there by a scientist from Italy’s Nationwide Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, who was monitoring its progress.
Dozens of vacationers had additionally been introduced by Etna’s guides to see the spectacle.
The lava was so gradual transferring it’s not often thought of harmful, and the fierce warmth because the rocks fizzled and crackled stopping anybody from getting too shut.
However about 20 minutes after arriving, a burst of white steam emerged from the lava – it didn’t make a lot of a noise or look particularly threatening – however the guides began asking folks to maneuver.
Then, moments later, there was an explosion. The lava had combined with snow and ice, and boiling rocks and boulders had been flung up excessive into the air. They began to rain down in each course.
Everybody began to run, pelted with the lethal, scorching particles. However it was inconceivable to see – steam from the explosion had brought on a whiteout.
I fell as I used to be attempting to get away, attempting to cowl my head. All I might hear was the thud of rocks hitting throughout.
I really thought that we had been going to die. In some way, our camerawoman Rachel Value stored on filming – her footage is astonishing.
Even when a boiling rock fell into her coat, rapidly burning by way of her garments and reaching her pores and skin, she stored the digicam rolling.
Producer Alison Francis, too, was hit by falling particles – her coat was peppered with burns the place rocks had struck, and her hat saved her from a extra severe strike to the top.
Amidst the chaos, the sound of an engine rose, and the driving force of the snowcat automobile that had taken us up the slopes began to beep its horn to assist us find it.
Dodging extra flying rocks, we obtained on. A information screamed in agony from a dislocated shoulder, others had been bloody, burned and bruised – however we had all managed to flee.
Badly shaken, I spoke to the volcanologist whose work we had been filming. Bleeding from a success to the top, he instructed me it was probably the most harmful incident he’d ever skilled at Etna, which he’d spent 30 years learning.
As we took inventory and spoke to the medics who had rapidly appeared on the scene, it was astonishing to understand that there have been no severe accidents and even deaths.
Watching Rachel’s footage again, we are able to see that all of us had a particularly slim escape. It reminded us simply how harmful these forces of nature could be.