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Guatemala volcano: Several dead as Fuego volcano erupts

Guatemala volcano: Several dead as Fuego volcano erupts

Hundreds more have been injured and authorities are expecting the death toll to rise.

At its fiercest, the volcano could spray ash all the way to the country's southern neighbors of El Salvador and Honduras. Lava began flowing down the mountain's flank and across homes and roads around 4 p.m.

It was the 3,763-metre volcano's second eruption this year.

At least 33 people have been killed as Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego erupted on Sunday.

Residents that give food for the rescue workers are seen beside a police cordon at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at El Rodeo in Escuintla, Guatemala June 6, 2018.

Director of seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute of Guatemala, Eddy Sanchez stated that, "Temperatures in the pyroclastic flow can exceed 700 degrees (Celsius) and volcanic ash can rain down on a 15-km (9-mile) radius".

Officials monitoring the ash fall early reported a "positive panorama" and didn't immediately evacuate residents.

Among the fatalities were four people, including a disaster agency official, killed when lava set a house on fire in El Rodeo village, National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said.

Sacatepequez television published images of a charred landscape where the lava came into contact with homes.

Dozens of videos appeared on social media and Guatemalan TV showing the extent of the devastation.

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"Not everyone was able to get out".

"Not everyone escaped. I think they were all buried".

Bodies were so thickly coated with ash that they looked like statues, and rescuers were forced to use sledgehammers to break through the roofs of houses buried in debris up to their rooflines to try to see if anyone was trapped inside.

"Where we live the lava was coming down an alleyway... we ran to a hillside".

Unlike the Hawaii volcano, which has destroyed homes with slow-moving lava, the Fuego volcano unleashed fast-moving pyroclastic flow - a nasty mix of ash, rock and volcanic gases that can be much more risky than lava.

Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, blows out a thick cloud of ash in Guatemala, June 3, 2018.

Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City's worldwide airport, civil aviation said.

Rescuers have found the bodies of several more victims of an eruption at Guatemala's Volcano of Fire, and emergency workers have pulled 10 people still alive from ash drifts and mud flows.

The Fuego eruption has reportedly been the most violent in more than a century in Guatemala, killing at least 25 people, and injuring many more.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning in the aftermath of the eruption.