Stromboli was hit by a set of violent eruptions spurring beach tourists to take to the sea.

Two new lava spouts are creeping down the volcano on the famed island. The volcano is also shooting out red-hot rocks called lapilli which are setting fore to cane breaks, local sources said.

“A huge column of dense black smoke is coming out of the crater,” an eye witness said.

Another said “there was a powerful explosion. We heard a bang, then a column of smoke and lapilli fell onto Ginostra, and flames on the slopes of the volcano”.

Fires have broken out across the island, fire services and forest rangers said.