500 tourists have been evacuated to Tenerife on boats as an active volcano forces thousands to flee.
There was short warning before Mt Cubre Vieja erupted on the Spanish resort island of La Palma in the Canaries. The volcano which began spewing molten rock on Sunday has been dormant for over fifty years.
Rivers of lava at temperatures over 1000 degree Celsius have engulfed homes and hotels. Although the advance has slowed the flows have cut across the island's main roads disrupting traffic and adding to the chaos for those trying to leave.
Mayor Mariano Hernandez reported that over 100 buildings have been lost and experts warn that the eruption could last for months.
"The movement of lava is much slower than it was initially ... There has not been a large advance during the day," emergency coordinator Miguel Angel Morcuende told a press briefing on Monday.
However the eruption continues to cause transport chaos in the area with flights disrupted and local infrastructure affected. Six roads had been closed according to Reuters.
Tourists who had either been told to evacuate or had chosen to cut trips short had congregated at the airport and ferry terminals.
"It was horrible," Eva, a 53-year Austrian tourist told Reuters at the airport. "We felt the earthquake, it started in the morning ... Then at three in the afternoon the lady from our house came and said 'you have to pack everything and leave quickly.'"
Airspace remains open with no disruption reported by civil air authority Enaire, however at least one local carrier has suspended flights from La Palma Airport.
Some 380 tourists were evacuated from Puerto Naos resort and a hotel, according to the Daily Mail. These guests taken by ferry to the nearby island of Tenerife with 100 more tourists evacuated to an old army barracks from other hotels and villas on the island.
Visitors and locals were not the only ones facing the heat.
The Spanish Tourism Minister was under fire on Monday after she suggested that visitors stay put and "enjoy what nature has bought to La Palma".
Speaking on Canal Sur radio, minister Reyes Maroto told the shocked disk jockeys that the volcano "could become an attraction for those tourists who want to see this marvellous spectacle of nature."
The minister quickly retracted this idea, saying that the priority was with helping those affected by the fires.
"Today, our thoughts are with the victims," she told local reporters.
Seismic activity increased sharply over the past week with 25,000 tremors detected in eight days.