Terrifying footage of the Guatemala volcano that's killed at least 62, plus dramatic photos from Hawaii's eruption

ConredVolcan de fuego when it first started erupting on Sunday.

When Washington State’s Mount St. Helens volcano erupted in May 1980, it killed 57 people.

Some 38 years later, a similar pyroclastic explosion from Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of fire) has killed at least 62 people, and injured hundreds more, with the death toll expected to rise after the eruption send a giant mud and ash slides down the mountain late Sunday (local time).

Here’s the incredible moment it all began.

It was the second major eruption this year and at the start of the day, officials from CONRED Guatemala, the national disaster reduction authority, did not seem too worried as Volcan de Fuego came back to life.

But after the ash column reached 10km into the sky there was a series of pyroclastic flows – an explosive mix of hot gas and volcanic material travelling at up to 700 km/h (430 mph) and as hot as 1,000°C (1,830°F) and it all changed for the more than one million people in the area.

By noon, local time, the heavy ash began to blanket villages surrounding the mountain. Around 4pm the accompanying lahars (volcanic mudslides) began charging down the mountain valleys, wiping away all in its path, including some villages.

Some photos posted on social media show the bodies of victims half-buried in the mud.

More than 3,100 people were evacuated in an exclusion zone 8km around the blast site.

The death toll was increased from 25 on Monday (local time) as the search for survivors continued. The village of El Rodeo is the site of the latest deaths and further a eruption overnight halted the search as rescuers fled for their lives.

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake also struck 100km off the coast of Guatemala at around 1am (AEST).

Many of those who stayed for a sticky beak during the volcano’s initial explosions had a close shave when one lahar charged their way down a ravine and then covered the road at the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, where they’d been filming seconds earlier.

Here’s more footage the terrifying moment it hits San Miguel Los Lotes, where several people have died.

Local newspaper Pensa Libre returned to the village, where there was believed to be around 100 homes, after the lahar hit and authorities and the army began the search for survivors and victims before darkness suspended their efforts at around 9pm on Sunday (local time).

A number of areas around the mountain have been isolated by the explosions and mudslides. CONRED estimates around 650 people remain unaccounted for.

Israel is one of the first nations to respond with a pledge to send emergency aid.

Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, visited Israel a fortnight ago, and after today’s disaster declared three days of national mourning.

Here’s more dramatic footage of the explosions:

Meanwhile, the lower east rift zone Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano continues its destructive path through the residential area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

While most of the fissures that opened up last month are now inactive, fissure 8 is busy, pushing lava fountains 67 metres (220 feet) into the sky on Sunday as the lava flow continues in a channel towards the Kapoho residential area.

By Sunday night the 800-metre-wide (0.5 mile) front was just 220m (245 yards) from the ocean in Kapoho Bay, with several properties standing in its way. Some parts of the flow are estimated to be advancing at an average of 76 metres/hour (250ft/hr).

Here are the latest images courtesy of the US Geological Survey:

U.S. Geological SurveyLava from fissure 8 heads towards the ocean at Kapoho Bay, Hawaii. This photo was taken early Sunday morning local time and by the evening the distance to the water had halved.
U.S. Geological SurveyFissure 8 crosses Highway 132.
U.S. Geological SurveyFissure 8 lava flowed into Green Lake and boiled away the water on Saturday.
U.S. Geological SurveyLava from fissure 8 at about 160ft on the weekend.
US Geological SurveyThe lava flow from fissure 8 last Thursday.

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