Europe’s most active volcano spewed with such force that the local Catania airport was forced to close because of ash plumes billowing into the sky.
Officials said that 150 flights were affected by the threat of volcanic debris.
The smaller airport of Comiso in the area was also closed down.
Lava streaming down the mountain’s flanks was easily visible from the towns of Tantania and Taormina.
Three volcanic tremors also rumbled through the region during the eruption.