As Sicily's Mount Etna continued to erupt today (Saturday) torrents of molten lava threatened villages on the side of the volcano.
LV PAN Smoking lava around shrubland
GV Blocked road because of lava near village
GV Carabiniari inspects damage
MV & GV Workmen removing mosaics from building
GV & SV Onlookers on hillside
MVs Red hot lava cascading down hill-side onto bushes & trees
GV, MV PAN Onlookers on hillside
SCU Lava TILT UP TO onlookers
SV Cascading lava
MV & MV PAN Cascading lava
Initials SGM/0308 SGM/0327
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Background: As Sicily's Mount Etna continued to erupt today (Saturday) torrents of molten lava threatened villages on the side of the volcano. The lava has already cut a tourist road and set fire to acres of fruit and nut trees.
SYNOPSIS: The eruption of Mount Etna Europe's biggest volcano continues with renewed ferocity after forty days of activity. After twice cutting a tourist road, molten lava menaced Sicilian villages on the volcano's slopes this weekend. By Friday afternoon, the lava had surged on to engulf ten houses, a bridge and orchards.
An estimated fifty thousand tourists came to watch the awesome spectacle of the eruption. Around them, human tragedies were being played out as farmers carried away their belongings or sold their land threatened by the path of the lava. Speculators have been buying up land at rock bottom prices, gambling on government compensation if the area is declared a disaster zone.
The lava, advancing on a three-hundred and fifty yard front, threatens the village of Fornazzo with its two-thousand inhabitants. Another village is also menaced. Evacuation plans have been drawn up in case lava reaches the villages, though experts believe the lava will be diverted.