Bystanders recording video on their cell phones caught the moment that a high-rising volcanic mudflow destroyed a highway bridge. They bolted as the molten rock drew closer.
Government officials hesitated to call for evacuations when the eruption began. They waited until lava began flowing down the volcano’s banks to urge people to leave — about four hours after the initial blast.
The Fuego volcano is one of the most active in Central America. This eruption spewed ash and rock more than 32,000 feet into the air. Sunday’s blast was the volcano’s second this year, but its most violent in more than 40 years, and the danger is not over. Officials fear the death toll will rise because so many homes are difficult to access.
The country is already receiving help from other nations with deliveries of food, blankets and medicine.