25 dead, several injured as Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts

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Guatemala City: Guatemala's civil defence officials said 25 people have been killed when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close.

The strong eruption was the second major one this year. The dead were from farming communities just south of the volcano who were trapped by hot lava flow, National Disaster Relief Agency spokesman David de Leon told reporters.

Another 20 people have been injured, and more than 2,000 evacuated near the volcano and several cities, including Antigua. The Spanish colonial-era city is Guatemala's top tourist attraction.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defence staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

Dense ash blasted out by the volcano -- which rises to 12,346 feet -- also shut down Guatemala City's international airport, civil aviation said.

Workers were cleaning ash off the runways to get the airport operating again.

Guatemala has two other active volcanoes, Santiaguito in the west and Pacaya, just south of the capital.

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