Sangay volcanic explosions continue but Guayaquil airport reopens; Three die in climbing accident; Lasso travels to the U.S. for melanoma treatment
The Sangay volcano continued to produce large explosions on Sunday, sending ash and gas clouds 4,000 meters into the atmosphere. The Geophysical Institute reported Sunday night that “significant amounts of volcanic ash” were falling in Alausí, Cebadas, Palmira, Chunchi, Columbe and Colta in Chimborazo Province. Smaller amounts were reported in Bolivar and Cañar Provinces.
The institute reported that wind direction is to the west, northwest, slightly north of Firday’s and Saturday’s direction.
The Guayaquil airport returned to normal operations Sunday as volcanic dust clouds shifted to the north, posing less of a risk to aircraft. Airport management said it is monitoring weather conditions closely and will close the airport again if the wind direction dictates. “The situation is minute to minute and we make adjustments as needed to protect air passengers,” the airport said in a statement.
As a precaution, flights between Cuenca and Quito operated by Latam and Avianca have been rerouted to the east of the volcano.
On Sunday, the Geophysical Institute recorded more than 200 explosions at Sangay and released photos of lava flowing down the volcano’s southern and western flanks. It said that more than 50 earthquakes were recorded, 30 of them perceptible in the area near the volcano.
Three die in climbing accident
Three mountain climbers died Saturday morning and four others were seriously injured in an accident on Volcan Carihuayrazo in Chimborazo Province. One of the dead was Cuencana Veronica Torres.
According to survivors, the team was descending the 5,021-meter mountain when one member slipped, dragging other members into 60 meter-deep crevasse. All members were tethered together for the descent down the glacier.
Rescue workers from Riobamba and Ambato worked through the day Saturday to rescue survivors and recover the bodies of the dead. Ten climbers were uninjured but needed to be airlifted from the mountain.
Lasso flies to Houston for cancer treatment
President Guillermo Lasso will travel to Houston, Texas Tuesday to undergo a series of tests to determine the extent of melanoma that Quito doctors diagnosed in July. The presidential press office said the cancer “requires interdisciplinary management, exploration and treatment strategies that are well organized in international hospitals specializing in such treatments.”
Accompanied by his family, Lasso will be in the U.S. from August 16 until August 21. His office said he will remain in charge of most executive functions while delegating others to Vice President Alfredo Borrero.