dpa/GNA – The Catania airport has reopened after temporarily closing due to the eruption of Mount Etna on the southern Italian island of Sicily, the ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday.

The nearby volcano had erupted for almost an hour the previous evening. Afterwards, runways had to be cleared of volcanic ash, the airport announced on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday morning, Italian television showed that the sky in the region was blue and clear again.

Authorities continue to monitor the volcano’s activity, but the situation was under control, media reports said.

Etna had previously spewed fire and ash in a spectacular fashion. According to media reports, there was a strong explosion on the south-east side of the volcano.

Fountains of lava shot several hundreds of metres into the air before flowing into a valley on the mountain’s east side, according to the National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV).

“It sounded like a bomb explosion,” a resident of Catania told dpa.

Numerous users shared photos and videos of the natural phenomenon on social media. They showed a huge cloud of smoke rising from the crater and lava flowing down the slope.

The smoke reached a height of several kilometres, INGV said.

There were no reports of larger damage, injuries or casualties, the city of Catania confirmed to dpa.

Ash rained down on houses, streets and balconies in the city. Some streets were still covered by ash on Wednesday, residents said.

Etna erupts time and again, with hundreds of eruptions recorded since 1977, according to the INGV. The volcano is located in eastern Sicily.

Catania, with more than 300,000 inhabitants, is one of the larger cities in the area.

The mountain itself is over 3,300 metres high and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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