REYKJAVIK, Iceland, March 21 (UPI) — The first eruption of a volcano in southern Iceland since the 1820s forced the evacuation of 450 people, authorities said Sunday.
Officials warned of possible flooding after the volcano erupted next to the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the fifth largest in Iceland, 100 miles southeast of the capital, Reykjavik.
Authorities reported no injuries or major property damage.
The Daily Telegraph reported a state of emergency has been declared in areas surrounding the 100-square-mile glacier, and three Red Cross centers were set up for evacuees in the village of Hella.
With heavy volcanic ash in the skies, the Icelandic public radio station RUV reported three Iceland-bound Icelandair flights had been ordered back to Boston, Orlando and Seattle.
The Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration ordered aircraft to stay 120 nautical miles away from the volcano area and all domestic flights were canceled until further notice, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reported.
Because of the risk of ash getting into planes’ engines, Keflavik international airport, Reykjavik airport and Akureyri airport were closed.
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