New Zealand’s Mount Tongariro erupted on Wednesday, sending a column of ash a mile into the air, prompting the cancellation of some flights. Those hiking on the mountain at the time of eruption had to flee, but none were injured.
A group of school children and teachers who were taking a field trip on the mountain fled when the mountain began spewing ash, reported TVNZ.
“It was a very exciting day, not quite the day we had planned,” Principal Roy Sye told the broadcaster. “They are studying volcanoes, so they got a first-hand look at when nature goes unannounced.”
Lomi Schaumkel, a teacher, told the Dominion Post that the students were near a hot springs when the eruption occurred.
“We were right up there next to it. It was just amazing,” she said.
“It was pretty scary from where we were and it just looked absolutely spectacular, the ash that came out. It really did look like one of those atom bomb explosions, and it made a rumbling sound.’’
The country’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, said it would delay and cancel some of its flights due to the plume of ash, reported The Associated Press.
New Zealand’s GNS Science confirmed that Tongariro erupted “after a couple of weeks of unrest indicators” that include “increased earthquake activity and changes in gas emission,” it said. The volcano last erupted in August, lasting only a few minutes.
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