Skip to main content

El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupts for first time in 37 years

By Nelson Quiñones and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
December 29, 2013 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
View of the Chaparrastique volcano spewing ashes and smoke in southern El Salvador on December 29.
View of the Chaparrastique volcano spewing ashes and smoke in southern El Salvador on December 29.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Avianca announces the cancellation of 33 flights into and out of the country
  • NEW: El Salvador's president says authorities don't know if the volcano will erupt again
  • Chaparrastique sent a plume of gas and ash about 3 miles high, environmental ministry says
  • Some flights to San Salvador, the capital, were redirected to other airports to avoid the ash

(CNN) -- El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupted Sunday, sending a dark cloud of ash miles into the sky, forcing thousands to evacuate from their homes and snarling travel in the Central American country as airlines canceled flights.

"We are not certain there will be new eruptions, but we can't rule out that possibility either," President Mauricio Funes said in a televised address urging residents near the volcano in the department of San Miguel to leave their homes and head to shelters.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the eruption began at 10:30 a.m. and produced a column of gas and ash approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) high.

Authorities warned residents not to approach the area near the volcano, which is located in eastern El Salvador.

The international airport in San Salvador, the capital, redirected some flights to other airports, including in Guatemala, to avoid the ash.

Avianca airlines announced Sunday night that it had canceled 33 flights scheduled to arrive and depart from El Salvador as a precautionary measure due to the ash cloud. Iberia and United Airlines also canceled flights that had been scheduled to arrive in San Salvador Sunday night.

This is the first eruption of Chaparrastique in 37 years.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 1718 GMT (0118 HKT)
This is how the two U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola will be evacuated from west Africa.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1829 GMT (0229 HKT)
How did al Qaeda recruit a former Florida high school footballer?
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would be "complicated." Can John Kerry's visit change that?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 0331 GMT (1131 HKT)
What're you doing after work today? If you lived in these cities you could head to the BEACH!
ADVERTISEMENT