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 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 7:40 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
updated 12:34 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
updated 11:17 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT