Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Red Sea Volcano

Three weeks after the tectonic plates moved in Indonesia they had an impact in Africa.

Jabal al-Tair, meaning bird mountain, is one of several volcanoes at the southern end of the Red Sea between Yemen and Sudan.

The island, two miles wide, has no civilian population, only military installations used for Yemeni naval control. It is not clear how many military personnel were there during the eruption.

Jabal al-Tair's last eruption was in 1883, according to the Washington-based Smithsonian Institute's global volcano programme.

There had been considerable seismic activity around the island ahead of yesterday's eruption, the Yemeni defence ministry said on its website, including an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on Friday.

Canadian National Defence image shows lava flows and clouds of smoke and ash

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This gives new meaning to Toronto the Good.

A Canadian navy ship rescued a Yemeni soldier Monday following a volcanic eruption on a small island in the Red Sea.

HMCS Toronto was part of a NATO fleet in the area that was called upon by the Yemeni government to help rescue its soldiers after the eruption began Sunday evening.

HMCS Toronto is seen during operations, part of Canada's contribution to Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, an international naval rapid deployment fleet. (Master Cpl. Kevin Paul / Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

Canadian Navy divers in small boats were seen searching the waters surrounding the island late Monday.

A survivor described to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa the first moments of the disaster.

"It was horrible. It started with shocks like quakes, and then we heard huge blasts with lava and rocks spewing out and dropping on us," Ahmad Abdullah al-Jalal, who was rescued by the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto, told dpa aboard the vessel.

Al-Jalal said that he and six fellow soldiers decided to flee the island by trying to swim through "boiling water" surrounding the tiny island.

"Some of them cried 'the sea,' advising that we should jump to the water before it got hotter," he said.

"I saw four of my colleagues dying in the boiling water just behind me," al-Jalal said as he was being comforted by Yemeni Coast Guard officers who boarded the Canadian ship to receive him and the remains of the two soldiers recovered by the Canadian sailors.

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1 comment:

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