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La Palma volcano: TUI cancels flights to Canary Island until end of October after eruption turned ‘aggressive’

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The UK tour operator has halted flights to the Canary Island of La Palma amid the ongoing volcanic eruption.

TUI has cancelled flights and holidays for at least the next three weeks after officials said the eruption from the Cumbre Vieja volcano had turned “much more aggressive”.

Satellite images taken by the European Space Agency on Tuesday show lava and plumes of smoke still erupting from the site – over two weeks on from the initial eruption.

The eruption has sent gas and ash up to 6,000 metres into the air, according to local officials.

On Monday, two more earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 3.0 rattled the island causing part of the volcano’s crater to collapse.

Scientists recorded eight new earthquakes, up to a magnitude of 3.5, over the weekend, but officials said no more residents would be evacuated as the resulting molten rock was moving along the same route to the sea as earlier flows.

Some 6,000 people were evacuated following the first eruption on 19 September and it is unclear how long the disruption will continue for.

On Monday, the Canary Islands’ regional president, Angel Victor Torres, said: “It’s not over yet, we don’t even know how long there is to go. We’re in nature’s hands.”

TUI repatriated all holidaymakers on the island following the initial eruption and originally cancelled holidays until 1 October, although this has now been extended to the end of the month.

A TUI statement said: “Due to the ongoing situation we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all flights to La Palma departing up to and including 27 October 2021. All impacted customers will be contacted directly to discuss their options.

“We’d like to reassure customers due to travel to any other Canary Islands that our flights are currently operating as planned however we will continue to monitor the situation and contact them should their holiday be impacted.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”

Scientists recently warned of breathing difficulties and irritation to eyes and skin due to the chemical reaction caused by the lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano reaching the sea.

Experts said the red-hot current has a temperature of more than 1,000C (1,832F) as it meets the ocean, which is around 20C (68F).

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The lava has caused significant damage to public infrastructure, farmland, and more than 1,000 buildings.

It has also destroyed nearly 21 miles (34km) of roads and entombed large areas of land, according to a European Union satellite monitoring agency.

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