Image: Chaiten volcano erupts, pouring a column of ash miles in to the sky
More than 1,500 people had to flee their homes after a huge cloud of ash and lava was thrown into the sky by a long-dormant volcano in southern Chile.Terrified citizens of the fishing town of Chaiten, six miles from the volcano, described a noise like a seismic "water boiler", and spoke fearfully of a series of earth tremors lasting hours.
A sea rescue was under way on Saturday for people threatened by the eruption.The Chaiten volcano, 800 miles south of the capital Santiago, had not erupted for more than 9,000 years and was considered dormant.
The peak is now belching enormous clouds of thick ash, which have drifted across a large area in both Chile and the Argentine province of Chubut, where an airport was forced to close.
Image: Locals wear masks to protect themselves from volcanic ash