'River of lava' flows into Guatemala village killing several people

Plumes of ash and black smoke submerged the sky

The Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala has erupted, shooting ash 10 km into the air and blanketing villages within 25km of the crater. Other videos from local media showed residents walking barefoot and covered in muddy residue.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez told news outlet Diario de Centroamerica.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said an undetermined number of people were missing following the eruption. "There are injured, burned and dead people".

The rescue is being further complicated by rainfall and darkness.

"Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven't been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too", said CONRED's Cabanas. A massive stream of lava could also be seen running through the region.

The eruption affects an area home to 1.7million people.

At an ad-hoc morgue in the town of Alotenango, at least three bodies lay covered with blue sheets.

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A disaster authority spokesman said a change in wind direction was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the capital.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event. "Currently the volcano continues to erupt and there exists a high potential for (pyroclastic) avalanches of debris", the disaster agency said via Twitter, quoting Sanchez, the director of the seismology and volcanology institute.

It added that he said authorities began to send bulletins on the situation starting at 11:30 a.m.

President Jimmy Morales informed that a national emergency response team has been activated.

Ash has effected not only Guatemala City but the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and the popular tourist destination colonial town Antigua.

The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak. Lesser amounts of ash reached the capital of Guatemala City some 25 miles away, forcing the closure of its worldwide airport, CONRED said.

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