Volcano Calbuco in southern Chile erupted for the first time in more than four decades on Wednesday, sending a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky.
As night fell, about 4,000 people had so far moved out of the area, an evacuation radius of 20 kilometers had been established and classes were canceled in surrounding towns, authorities said. Chile’s Onemi emergency office declared a red alert following the sudden eruption at around 6 p.m. local time (2100 GMT). Calbuco lies about 1,000 km south of the capital, Santiago, near the tourist town of Puerto Varas.
LATAM Airlines said it has canceled flights to and from neighboring Puerto Montt, the area’s largest city, because of the presence of volcanic ash, which can potentially damage aircraft and make flying dangerous.
Canadian-born Trevor Moffat, who lives in Ensenada, some 10 kilometres from the volcano, said the eruption happened without warning. Volcano Calbuco’s last known eruption was in 1972 and the most recent major eruption happened in 1961.
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