Coastal towns locked in La Palma as lava crashes into the sea

MADRID, November 22 (Reuters) – Authorities on the Spanish island of La Palma ordered residents of three coastal towns to stay indoors Monday after a new lava flow plunged into the ocean, sending thick clouds of potentially toxic gases high into the sky.

A third lava tongue from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been erupting for two months, reached the water around noon (12:00 GMT) a few kilometers north, where two previous currents hit the sea.

Drone footage from the local council showed white clouds billowing up out of the water as the red-hot melted rock slid down a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean.

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Residents of Tazacorte, San Borondon and parts of El Cardon were asked to stay inside with doors and windows closed as strong winds blew the cloud back into the country.

A lava flow is observed near Mount Laguna on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain on November 22, 2021 in this screenshot from a video on social media. Involcan / via REUTERS

Soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit were deployed to measure air quality in the area.

The airport was also closed and is likely to remain so for up to 48 hours due to adverse weather conditions, said Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Pevolca Outbreak Response Committee.

Residents of the capital Santa Cruz had been advised to wear masks for the first time since the eruption began due to high concentrations of particles and sulfur dioxide in the air, he said.

According to the Copernicus Disaster Monitoring Program, lava flows have damaged or destroyed about 2,650 buildings since September 19, forcing thousands to evacuate from their homes on the island, part of the Canary Islands archipelago.

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Reporting by Nathan Allen, editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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