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Ecuadorean Volcano Erupts: At Least One Dead


Ecuadorean authorities say a violent eruption by the Tungurahua volcano has showered rock and lava on nearby villages, leaving at least one person dead. About 60 others are reported missing.

Officials say the volcano, 130 kilometers south of Quito, erupted Thursday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people. A mayor from the town of Penipe, Juan Salazar, called the situation "an indescribable catastrophe." He said houses have collapsed, several people have been burned by falling rocks and others are buried under debris.

The 5,000-meter-tall volcano sent huge columns of ash into the air in 1999, forcing the evacuation of 17,000 area residents of the town of Banos, to the north.

Past eruptions of the volcano have included strong explosions and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base.

Tungurahua is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.