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
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Children and youth are often the victims of the violence in Gaza. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0307 GMT (1107 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
shakespeare moon illustration
It's been 45 years since the first moon landing. And still the giant rock continues to intrigue.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Nelson Mandela
21 ICONS has captured intimate portraits of some of South Africa's most celebrated. Founder Adrian Steirn reveals the story behind the images.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1139 GMT (1939 HKT)
Just a few weeks ago, a boy tied to a bus stop in Mumbai barely received a glance from passersby. Now, he has a home, thanks to a local NGO.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT