Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption kills 25, injures hundreds

GUATEMALA CITY, June 3 (Reuters) - An estimated 25 people, including at least three children, were killed and nearly 300 injured on Sunday in the most violent eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano in more than four decades, officials said.

Volcan de Fuego, whose name means "Volcano of Fire," spewed an 8-kilometer (5-mile) stream of red hot lava and belched a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.

The charred bodies of victims laid on the steaming, ashen remnants of a pyroclastic flow as rescuers attended to badly injured victims in the aftermath of the eruption.

It was the 3,763-meter (12,346-feet) volcano's second eruption this year.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the El Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people," Sergio Cabanas, the general secretary of Guatemala's CONRED national disaster management agency, said on radio.

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Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts
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Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts
Displaced people take a break as they leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A man rides a motorcycle while displaced people leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people travel on a truck to leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people travel on a motorcycle to leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Firefighters carry a man on a stretcher near an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people take a break as they leave an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people travel on a motorcycle from an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Firefighters carry a man on a stretcher near an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people walk along a road from an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people walk along a road from an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A firefighter gestures on a road near an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people walk along a road from an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Displaced people walk along a road from an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Firefighters help a comrade who collapsed near an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Firefighters aid a man near an area affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Soldiers inspect an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Soldiers inspect an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Firefighters hold rescued animals at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A firefighter holds rescued animals at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A man gestures as a power shovel removes ash at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Policemen inspect at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Policemen's boots are seen at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Rescue workers remove ash at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Rescue workers inspect an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A firefighter carries a dog at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A firefighter carries a dog at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A policeman covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano, is seen at an area affected in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A man covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano, is seen at an area affected in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Policemen walk at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A soldier walks at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
A man covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano, is seen at an area affected in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Rescue workers gather next to a roof covered in ash at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
Members of the Guatemala's National Disaster Management Agency (CONRED) take a break before continuing the search for bodies at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at El Rodeo in Escuintla, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
A rescue worker carries bags with water after Fuego volcano erupted in Alotenango, Guatemala June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by Johan ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by Johan ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer carries a baby after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers carry a wounded man after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by Johan ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A volunteer firefighter cries after leaving El Rodeo village in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, following the eruption of the Fuego Volcano. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A woman is attended by firefighters after hearing a relative is among the victim's bodies at a morgue in Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, after the eruption of Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
Municipal employees sweep up ash after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in Guatemala City, on June 3, 2018. (Photo by JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer firefighter carries a child after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Relatives wait for information about their relatives outside a morgue in Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, after the eruption of Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Residents of several communities safeguard in a temporary shelter in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, for fear of new outbursts of Fuego volcano. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by Johan ORDONEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A police officer looks at victim's bodies at a morgue in Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, after the eruption of Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. - At least 25 people were killed, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
People flee El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers and soldiers work in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at the Fuego Volcano in eruption, from Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez department, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 3, 2018. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers work in El Rodeo village, Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. (Photo by NOE PEREZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOE PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A street is covered in ash from the Fuego Volcano in Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez department, 45 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 3, 2018. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
Ash from the Fuego Volcano is seen on a street and on a building in Antigua, Sacatepequez department, 45 km southwest of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
Cars are covered in ashes from the Fuego Volcano in Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez department, 45 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 3, 2018. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
A policeman carries an elderly evacuee in Alotenango, Sacatepequez department, 55 km southwest of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano. (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP/Getty Images)
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CONRED said the number of dead had risen to 25, from an earlier estimate of seven, including a CONRED employee. Some 3,100 people have been evacuated from the area.

Officials said the dead were so far all concentrated in three towns: El Rodeo, Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes.

Rescue operations were suspended until 5:00 A.M. (1100 GMT) due to dangerous conditions and inclement weather, said Cecilio Chacaj, a spokesman for the municipal firefighters department.

Dozens of videos appeared on social media and Guatemalan TV showing the extent of the devastation.

One video published by news outlet Telediario, purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village, showed three bodies strewn atop the remnants of the flow as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud.

"Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven't been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too," said CONRED's Cabanas.

"I THINK THEY WERE BURIED'

In another video, a visibly exhausted woman, her face blackened from ash, said she had narrowly escaped as lava poured through corn fields.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried," Consuelo Hernandez told news outlet Diario de Centroamerica.

Steaming lava flowed down the streets of a village as emergency crews entered homes in search of trapped residents, another video on a different media outlet showed.

President Jimmy Morales said he had convened his ministers and was considering declaring a state of emergency in the departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepequez.

The eruption forced Guatemala City's La Aurora international airport to shut down its only runway due to the presence of volcanic ash and to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said on Twitter.

The volcano is some 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, which is popular with tourists and is known for its coffee plantations.

Workers and guests were evacuated from La Reunion golf club near Antigua as a black cloud of ash rose from just beyond the club's limits. The lava river was running on the other side of the volcano.

Officials said the volcanic eruption still presented a danger and could cause more mud and pyroclastic flows.

"Temperatures in the pyroclastic flow can exceed 700 degrees (Celsius) and volcanic ash can rain down on a 15-km (9-mile) radius. That could cause more mud flows and nearby rivers to burst their banks," said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute.

The huge plumes of smoke that could be seen from various parts of the country and the ash that fell in four of Guatemala's departments caused alarm among residents.

David de Leon, a CONRED spokesman, said a change in wind was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the capital. (Reporting by Sofia Menchu Writing by Anthony Esposito Editing by Sandra Maler and Paul Tait)

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