Stromboli eruption: Video shows tourists fleeing as Italian volcano spews smoke, fiery lava

A volcanic eruption in Italy sent people fleeing Wednesday, with many forced to escape the fiery explosion by boat. 

The Stromboli volcano, located on the island of Stromboli, near Sicily, began spewing lava, rocks and ash about noon Wednesday, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

The tiny island, which has a permanent population of about 400, is a popular destination for tourists. No injuries have been reported so far, CNN reported.  

Videos posted to social media show numerous groups of people speeding away from the explosion.

Elena Schiera, a 19-year-old visiting from Palermo, Sicily, described the scene as the eruption began near her family's boat. 

"At that moment the panic broke out because we had the cloud a few meters away from our stern," Schiera told CNN. "But thanks to my father who was at the helm we managed to get away just in time because then the cloud started to rise again."

Nicole Bremner, who was visiting from London, told the Independent that she saw a large cloud of ash, followed by a loud noise. 

"I started filming and then we heard the large blast and I filmed the plume," she said. "We then headed back over to see if we could help with any evacuation."

Federica Manna, who lives on Stromboli, described a chaotic scene from the island. She told CNN that it appeared as if it had "started to rain sand and stones" when the eruption began. 

"You can imagine the chaos. We sheltered in a church under the beams because we feared there was an earthquake," Manna told CNN. 

Authorities say the situation is currently under control, however, and helicopters have been dispatched to put out fires caused by the flowing lava. 

This is the second eruption on Stromboli in as many months. In July, a hiker was killed by falling rocks when the volcano exploded unexpectedly. 

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