Alexa

Big volcanic eruptions in Guatemala, Ecuador

 A person cleans a vehicle, covered by ash from The Pacaya volcano, in Boca Del Monte, south of Guatemala City, Thursday May 27, 2010. Authorities clo...
 A woman, sitting inside a vehicle covered by ash from The Pacaya volcano, holds up an umbrella in Boca Del Monte, south of Guatemala City, Thursday M...
 A woman stands near a church as the ground is covered in volcanic ash in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010 after the Pacaya Volcano erupted a ...
 A man surveys the damage after the roof of his home partially caved in when the Pacaya Volcano erupted a day earlier in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday M...
 Children being evacuated on a school bus from the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010, peer out from ash covered windows after the Pacay...
 A woman cries as she uses a cell phone after the Pacaya volcano erupted  in the town of Calderas, Guatemala,  Friday May 28, 2010. The Pacaya volcano...
  Volcanic ash blankets houses and a church in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday, May 28, 2010.  The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thurs...
 An American Airlines jet is parked in the tarmac covered with ash from the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano at the international airport in Guatemala C...

Guatemala Volcano

A person cleans a vehicle, covered by ash from The Pacaya volcano, in Boca Del Monte, south of Guatemala City, Thursday May 27, 2010. Authorities clo...

Guatemala Volcano

A woman, sitting inside a vehicle covered by ash from The Pacaya volcano, holds up an umbrella in Boca Del Monte, south of Guatemala City, Thursday M...

Guatemala Volcano

A woman stands near a church as the ground is covered in volcanic ash in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010 after the Pacaya Volcano erupted a ...

Guatemala Volcano

A man surveys the damage after the roof of his home partially caved in when the Pacaya Volcano erupted a day earlier in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday M...

Guatemala Volcano

Children being evacuated on a school bus from the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010, peer out from ash covered windows after the Pacay...

APTOPIX Guatemala Volcano

A woman cries as she uses a cell phone after the Pacaya volcano erupted in the town of Calderas, Guatemala, Friday May 28, 2010. The Pacaya volcano...

APTOPIX Guatemala Volcano

Volcanic ash blankets houses and a church in Calderas, Guatemala, Friday, May 28, 2010. The Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thurs...

APTOPIX Guatemala Volcano

An American Airlines jet is parked in the tarmac covered with ash from the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano at the international airport in Guatemala C...

Rocks spewing from a volcano overlooking the Guatemalan capital killed a television reporter and crushed roofs in villages near the peak, authorities said Friday. Three children are missing.
Major explosions also shook a towering volcano in the South American nation of Ecuador on Wednesday, forcing evacuations of three villages. There were no immediate reports of deaths.
Guatemala's Pacaya volcano started erupting lava and rocks on Thursday afternoon, blanketing the Central American country's capital with ash and forcing the closure of the international airport. President Alvaro Colom declared a "state of calamity."
"We thought we wouldn't survive. Our houses crumbled and we've lost everything," said Brenda Castaneda, who said she and her family hid under beds and tables as marble-sized rocks thundered down on her home in the village of Calderas. The family was waiting for rescue teams to take them to a shelter at a nearby school.
Television reporter Anibal Archila was hit by a shower of burning rocks when he got too close to the volcano, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Guatemala City, said David de Leon, a spokesman for the national disaster committee.
The last images of Archila broadcast by Channel 7 television show him standing in front of a lava river and burning trees, talking about the intense heat.
De Leon said three children between the ages of seven and 12 were missing.
At least 1,600 people from villages closest to the volcano have been evacuated to shelters.
The volcano's eruption lost some intensity Friday, though ash still rained heavily on nearby communities and constant explosions continued to shake the 8,373-foot (2,552 meter) mountain, according to the Central American country's Geophysical Research and Services Unit.
The unit reported an ash plume 3,000 feet (1,000) meters high that trailed more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the northwest.
Ash no longer fell over Guatemala City, where bulldozers scraped up blackened streets. Residents used shovels to clean their cars and roofs, carrying out large garbage bags filled with ash into the streets. City officials pleaded with residents not to dump the ash into sewers.
The blanket of ash was three inches (7.5 centimeters) thick some southern parts of the city, and officials imposed limits on trucks and motorcycles to help speed up traffic.
The government urged residents not to leave their homes unless there was an urgent need.
La Aurora airport will be closed at least until Saturday as crews clean up said Claudia Monge, a spokeswoman for Civil Aviation. Flights were being diverted to the Mundo Maya airport in northern Guatemala and Comalapa in El Salvador.
Meanwhile, Ecuador's National Geophysics Institute reported a major explosion from the 16,479-foot (5,023-meter) Tungurahua volcano, prompting evacuations of three villages nearby.
It said pyroclastic flows of hot volcanic material have blasted down the western slope. The scale of the ash cloud was obscured by clouds.
Institute researcher Sandro Vaca told Radio Sonorama that the eruption "seems to be growing rapidly." But there were no immediate reports of deaths and the number of evacuees was not clear.
Eruptions at Tungurahua, 95 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Quito, buried entire villages in 2006, leaving at least four dead and thousands homeless.
While the Guatemala eruption shut down local flights, it was not expected to affect airports in neighboring countries like Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano did.
The ash erupting from Pacaya is thick and falls quickly to the ground, unlike the lighter ash that spewed from the volcano in Iceland and swept over much of Europe, disrupting global air travel, said Gustavo Chigna, a volcano expert with Guatemala's institute of seismology and volcanos.
The most active of Guatemala's 32 volcanos, Pacaya has been intermittently erupting since 1966, and tourists frequently visit areas near three lava flows formed in eruptions between 1989 and 1991.
In 1998, the volcano twice spewed plumes of ash, forcing evacuations and shutting down the airport in Guatemala City.
___
Associated Press writer Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador, contributed to this report.