Snow-covered Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, spews lava during an eruption in the early hours of Thursday, March 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)
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Sicily's Mount Etna volcano unleashed an explosion Thursday, hurling molten rocks and steam that rained down on tourists, journalists and a scientist who scrambled to escape the barrage.The tourists, who were drawn to Etna to observe the spectacle of the active volcano erupting, were caught by surprise when its flowing magma hit thick snow, causing a phreatic explosion that rained rock and other material down upon them.A BBC journalist and camerawoman on assignment at the volcano were among the injured. Their film shows an explosion of steam followed by a second explosion of boiling rocks and people running away from the explosion. Italy's volcanology institute said the explosion took place at about 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) above sea level, putting the tourists at more than 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the base of the newest southeast Mount Etna crater where the lava flow originated.
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