Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts, several killed, hundreds injured


This picture released by the National Disaster Relief Agency of Guatemala shows Volcano Fuego during an eruptive pulse in El Rodeo, Guatemala.

GUATEMALA CITY - At least 25 people were killed and nearly 300 injured on Sunday in the most violent eruption of Guatemala&39;s Fuego volcano in over four decades, officials said.

Fuego volcano, whose name means "fire" in English, spewed an 8km 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.

"It&39;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&39;s CONRED national disaster management agency, said on radio.

Cabanas said one of those killed was a CONRED employee. He added that 3,100 people had evacuated the area so far.

Dozens of videos were popping up on social media and local TV, depicting the extent of the devastation.

One video published by news outlet Telediario purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village showed three bodies strewn atop a lava 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&39;t been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too," said CONRED&39;s Cabanas.

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

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

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