La Palma volcanic eruption shuts down airport

Volcanic explosions spewed red hot lava high into the air on La Palma on Saturday as a new vent opened, forcing the Spanish island to close its airport.

The Cumbre Vieja, which began erupting last Sunday, is entering a new explosive phase.

It has spewed out thousands of tons of lava, destroyed hundreds of houses and forced the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people, though no fatalities or serious injuries have been reported.

Spanish airport operator Aena said the island's airport had been closed because volcanic ash had accumulated.

Laura was due to fly back to Madrid for work.

"Our flight was supposed to leave today but it's cancelled. We came to the airport because the agency that organized our flight isn't picking up the phone, the phone lines have collapsed. They told us here that for tomorrow flights to Tenerife are full and we have to wait until Monday. That's two more nights and the implications are we can't get back to work."

La Palma, with a population of over 83,000, is one of the Canary Islands, but it receives fewer visitors than Tenerife or Gran Canaria.

The economic damage from the volcano has already been considerable, and about 15% of the island's crucial banana crop is at risk, jeopardizing thousands of jobs.

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