Volcano flight threat update as passengers fear delays from Iceland eruption while lava spews 330ft up from giant crater
A VOLCANO in Iceland erupted last night causing molten lava to shoot hundreds of feet into the air from a crater over two miles long.
The last time Iceland experienced a major volcanic disruption, tens of thousands of travellers hoping to fly were left stranded for days as ash clouds filled the sky.
Travellers are now waiting to see if their flights to Iceland will be delayed or even cancelled thanks to the region’s latest eruption.
On Monday evening shocking footage captured the Grindavik volcano exploding as burning red plumes of fire and smoke poured into the black sky.
The volcano, in the Reykjanes peninsula, is around ten miles from Iceland’s Keflavik airport and 25 from the capital Reykjavik airport.
The last flight from Keflavik airport was apparently an easyJet flight to Manchester which was delayed by over five hours.
READ MORE ON ICELAND’S VOLCANO
Passengers were told it was due to the nearby volcanic activity, but flight arrivals began again today at around 5am and have been mostly normal.
A government spokesperson also said: “There are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open.”
Icelandair reassured travellers: “The eruption does have a very minimal affect the operations of Icelandair or Keflavik airport.
“Our flight schedule remains unchanged.
“No flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the eruption. The safety of our passengers and staff is always our number one priority and at the heart of every decision we make.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely and will inform our passengers of any new developments.”
But the UK foreign office previously warned that “no travel can be guaranteed safe”.
After weeks of concerning activity bubbling under the surface of the crater, lava and fumes from the volcano hit 330 feet in the sky.
Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from the nearby town of Grindavik in recent days amid fears they would be at risk from the long anticipated eruption.
But a government spokesperson said: “The eruption does not present a threat to life”.
The lava is appearing to flow away from Grindavik instead of towards it, giving residents and officials hope for minimal disruption.
The eruption ripped open a 2.5 mile-long crack in the surface of the volcano, which at one end is only three kilometres from Grindavik.
Grindavik itself is only 25 miles southwest of Reykjavik.
Local geologist Bjorn Oddson told Icelandic media RUV: “The eruption is taking place north of the watershed, so lava does not flow towards Grindavik”.
This is the volcano’s fourth eruption in just two years.
The Reykjanes peninsula is a particular volcanic hot spot in Iceland – a country sitting on two tectonic – the Eurasian and North American – which move in opposite directions.
The country initially declared a state of emergency after weeks of earthquakes in the area, often a precursor to eruption.
And aerial footage last week appeared to show a huge crack billowing steam in Grindavik, splitting the Icelandic town in half.
Iceland’s president, Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, said on Monday: “It is not clear what damage it can cause, but now we rely on our scientists as well as all those who need to do monitoring and other operations.
“Above all else, we protect human life but we do all the defence of structures to the best of our ability.”
The Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption of 2010 was the second-largest of the 21st century, resulting in the cancellation of almost 100,000 flights across Europe.
A six-day airspace ban was implemented because of the ash clouds filling the sky.
That volcanic event, where lava was also seen spewing hundreds of metres into the air, lasted from March 20 to June 23.
In March 2021, lava fountains erupted spectacularly from a fissure in the ground measuring between 500-750 metres long in the region’s Fagradalsfjall volcanic system.
And just months ago in July, the Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted again following heightened seismic activity in the area.
Almost all of the town’s 3,800 inhabitants had been able to find accommodation with family members or friends, and only between 50 and 70 people were staying at evacuation centres, a rescue official said.
Some evacuees were briefly allowed back into the town on Sunday to collect belongings such as documents, medicines or pets, but were not allowed to drive themselves.
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