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Flights cancelled after new Canary Islands volcanic eruption

By AFP News

A fresh volcanic eruption in Spain’s Canary Islands prompted the cancellation of flights, airport authorities said Friday, the first planes to be grounded after the Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life this week.

New evacuations were also ordered as large explosions and new openings were reported at the volcano on Friday.

The volcano spewed a large cloud of thick, black ash into the air, forcing several airlines to cancel flights in the area.

There were seven flights scheduled for Friday operated by Binter, Canaryfly and the national carrier Iberia, but all were scrapped.

They were the first flights to be cancelled since the volcano erupted on Sunday.

‘It is not yet possible to say when we can resume flights,’ Spanish carrier Binter said on Twitter.

Authorities also ordered new evacuations, adding to the 6,100 people already forced to leave to area this week.

The compulsory evacuation order was issued in parts of El Paso on La Palma island ‘given the increased risk for the population due to the current eruptive episode’, the regional government said.

Video footage from the civil guard showed a garden in the area completely covered in thick ash.

The speed of the lava flowing from the mouth of the volcano has steadily slowed its pace in recent days, and experts are hoping it will not reach the coast.

If the molten lava reaches the sea, experts fear it will generate clouds of toxic gas into the air, which will also affect the marine environment.

Authorities set up a no-go zone this week to head off curious onlookers.

Hundreds of homes and large swathes of land have been destroyed by the eruption, and regional authorities estimate the damage to be well over 400 million euros ($470 million).

No casualties have been reported so far.

The eruption on the island of La Palma, home to some 85,000 people, was the first in 50 years.

The last eruption on La Palma was in 1971 when another part of the same volcanic range — a vent known as Teneguia — erupted on the southern side of the island.

Two decades earlier, the Nambroque vent erupted in 1949.

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