Skip to main content

El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupts for first time in 37 years

By Nelson Quiñones and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 6:40 PM EST, Sun December 29, 2013
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
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
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.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT