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Newsday, One of the most active volcanoes in the world erupts

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The news agency ANSA says that some 30 tourists jumped into the sea out of fear after a series of volcano erupted on the Sicilian island of Stromboli. Civil protec

Rescue services said the eruption started fires on the western side of the island, drawing in fire crews from nearby Salerno and Catania. ANSA also reported that the volcano was spewing out red hot rocks, and new lava spouts are creeping down the volcano onto the island.

Thiago Takeuti, 35, told Italian news agency ANSA that after Stromboli volcano's violent eruption Wednesday, he and the friend he was hiking with, Massimo Imbesi, sought safety in an area flames had already passed.

Stromboli, which shares its name with the island, is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been erupting nearly continuously since 1932.

Firefighters using helicopters and motorboats continued to douse fires ignited by falling molten material, but said most were under control by Thursday afternoon.

Favorito added of the eruption, "We plugged our ears and after this, a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud", she told Reuters.

Italian media reported some tourists had fled into the sea, while others barricaded themselves into homes. Lava flows from the volcano - when they happen - typically proceed down the northwest slope of the island (the Sc├Čara del Fuocco), far away from the settlements.

Alessandro Fabrizi, the theater festival's artistic director, said he was returning to Stromboli from Sicily on a hydrofoil when he "saw the mountain burning".

Residents and tourists on Stromboli were evacuated on Wednesday after two powerful explosions rocked the tiny island. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely.

Known as the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean", Stromboli is famous for dramatic scenes of glowing lava fountains in the night sky as it rumbles with small explosive eruptions every 20 to 30 minutes. It's one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has had a series of eruptions since the 1930's.

There were two primary eruptions which took place at 4.46pm local time (5.43pm BST) according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. Such eruptions "are events of great intensity and [are] quite rare", he said.

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