Volcanic eruption chokes Costa Rica towns and cities in smoke and ash

Smoke and ash spewed 3,000m (10,000ft) into the air as the Turrialba volcano erupted in Costa Rica. The huge cloud was blown by high winds towards the capital, San Jose, 45km to the west, where residents said the air reeked of sulphur and ash coated buildings and cars. Hundreds of people have gone to hospital, complaining of breathing difficulties and skin problems. Schools were closed and some flights into the country cancelled or diverted.

It seems to me to be the strongest (Turrialba) eruption in the past six years

Volcanologist Gino Gonzalez

Turrialba volcano has been belching ash and gases in an eruptive cycle for weeks. But after three days of constant eruptions, TV channels on Friday showed footage of the vast cloud of grey smoke billowing from the 3,340m (11,000ft) volcano. The country’s National Emergencies Commission advised people to wear masks and tight clothing to protect their lungs and skin from the ash.