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Tourists flee as volcano rocks Italian island of Stromboli (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

One person has been killed as a huge volcanic eruption rocked the small Italian island of Stromboli, near Sicily, sending tourists fleeing in fear for their lives.

Columns of black smoke continue to billow from the volcano in the wake of the sudden activity, which alarmed some island visitors so much that they fled into the sea, according to Italy’s ANSA news agency.

Eyewitnesses in nearby Sicily, as well as on the mainland, have been posting photos and videos of the eruption and aftermath on Twitter.

One of the Aeolian islands, Stromboli has a small population of just several hundred people. Its volcano is known to be one of the most active in Italy, with regular minor eruptions.

Stefano Branca from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) described Wednesday’s sudden activity as a “paroxysmal eruption,” explaining to Reuters that this happens when high-pressure magma explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir.

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