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Tourists Are Injured Near Icelandic Volcanic Eruption

Three vacationers had been injured in Iceland Wednesday night time as they trekked throughout tough terrain to a volcanic eruption drawing awe-struck onlookers to its sputtering fountains of red-hot lava, a spokeswoman for Iceland’s civil safety company mentioned.

The accidents, together with a damaged ankle, weren’t critical, however they underscored the dangers that vacationers face making an attempt to hike to the lava flowing from the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland, the spokeswoman, Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, mentioned in an interview on Thursday.

“We inform people who, though we all know it is spectacular and there is nothing prefer it, we’ve to watch out, and we’ve to be ready earlier than we go,” Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned.

The hike to and from the world, she mentioned, takes about 5 hours and, because the volcano erupted final 12 months, might contain crossing lava that’s nonetheless fragile and sizzling beneath the floor. Officials have additionally warned of sudden fuel air pollution close to the eruption web site.

“We try to inform folks it isn’t only a stroll within the park,” Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned. “People must watch out and in good garments and good footwear. We try to inform that to each Icelanders and our overseas buddies.”

The vacationer with a damaged ankle was taken by helicopter to a hospital, Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned. The different two had been helped off the volcano in autos, she mentioned.

Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned she anticipated extra vacationers to reach within the coming days, particularly after darkish, when the fiery lava will be seen in opposition to Iceland’s night time sky.

“We do not know the way many individuals have been there, however we all know it’s many, and we all know the subsequent days, it is going to be extra,” she mentioned. “We know we won’t say, ‘Stay away.’ We usually are not locking the place.”

The lava started flowing on Wednesday from a floor fissure round Fagradalsfjall, close to the city of Grindavik on the Reykjanes peninsula, the Icelandic authorities mentioned in an announcement. The eruption got here after intense seismic exercise over the past a number of days, the assertion mentioned.

The authorities mentioned that the eruption was thought of to be “comparatively small” and that the chance to populated areas and important infrastructure was low. Fissure eruptions don’t often end in massive explosions or important columns of ash flying into the stratosphere, the assertion mentioned.

But the federal government mentioned it was nonetheless advising folks to not go to the location. The eruption web site “is a harmful space and circumstances can change shortly,” the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management mentioned in an announcement on Thursday.

It warned that poisonous fuel can accumulate when the wind decreases, that new lava fountains can open with little warning and that accumulating lava can circulate shortly throughout the bottom.

The fissure is about 9 miles from a serious transportation hub, Keflavik Airport, and about 16 miles from the Reykjavik metropolitan space, the federal government mentioned.

“We’ve been anticipating an eruption someplace on this space because the collection of earthquakes began final weekend,” Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland’s prime minister, mentioned in an announcement. “We will in fact proceed to watch the state of affairs carefully and now we additionally profit from the expertise gained from final 12 months’s eruption.”

There is a protracted historical past of volcanic exercise in Iceland, which has greater than 30 lively volcanoes. The nation straddles two tectonic plates, that are divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten sizzling rock, or magma. Quakes happen when the magma pushes by means of the plates.

Keflavik Airport mentioned on its web site on Thursday that there have been no disruptions to arriving or departing flights.

Icelandair additionally sought to reassure passengers that its flights had not been disrupted because it promoted the volcanic eruption on Facebook, writing on Wednesday that “Iceland’s summer season simply obtained hotter!” It included a hyperlink to a livestream of the eruption web site.

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