Mount Etna eruption halts flights to Sicily's Catania airport

Mount Etna erupts
Lava flows downhill as Mount Etna erupts, as seen from Pizzi Deneri on the north side of volcano, on the island of Sicily, in Catania, Italy, May 31, 2022. Picture taken May 31, 2022. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

ROME, May 21 (Reuters) - Flights serving the eastern Sicilian city of Catania were halted on Sunday after an eruption from nearby Mount Etna spewed volcanic ash onto its runways, airport authorities said.

The 3,330 metre (10,925 ft) high volcano can burst into spectacular action several times a year, firing lava and ash high over the Mediterranean island. The last major eruption was in 1992.

Flights to and from Catania, a popular tourist destination, would be suspended until normal safety conditions could be guaranteed, the airport said on Twitter.

Cars in the city were covered in a layer of dark gritty dust, images in the Italian media showed.

Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Barbara Lewis

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