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Pilot’s stunning image of Philippines volcano eruption

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A pilot has snapped a breathtaking image of the aftermath of a violent volcanic eruption in the Philippines.

A pilot has snapped a breathtaking image of the aftermath of a violent volcanic eruption in the Philippines.

The picturesque Taal volcano blasted steam, ash and rock up to 15 kilometres into the air when it dramatically increased in activity yesterday.

Philippine Airlines pilot Avelino Mendoza was approaching Manila from Sydney yesterday when he spotted the giant ash plume above the clouds.

Philippine Airlines pilot Avelino Mendoza took this photo above the clouds as he approached Manila.

The photo was taken about 3.30pm local time, hours before airspace over Manila and surrounding areas was shut down at 7pm.

The pilot's daughter, Sydney woman Anna Mendoza, said the flight crew weren't immediately aware it was a volcano they could see.

"They weren't informed about the eruption," Ms Mendoza told

"They thought it was a massive rain cloud and only found out it was a volcanic plume when they got closer.

"They were only officially told when they landed."

Mr Mendoza's daughter said the airline crew thought it was a rain cloud, only to be later told it was a volcanic ash plume.

All departing and arriving flights were later cancelled at Manila's international airport due to volcanic ash in the air and on runways.

The blast also triggered dramatic volcanic lightning.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised the danger level around the volcano to Level 4, indicating "a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days".

There have been no immediate reports of widespread damage but more than 6000 villagers were evacuated from the island in the middle of a lake where the volcano lies, about 60km south of Manila.

As tremors shook the area, volcanic lightning flickered in the column of steam and ash.Brisbane man Ewan Carroll is holidaying in Manila and took this photo.

Authorities hoped to move another 300,000 people to safety in the Batangas province.

"We have asked people in high-risk areas, including the volcano island, to evacuate now ahead of a possible hazardous eruption," Renato Solidum, head of Phivolcs, said.

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Taal is among dozens of active volcanoes in the Phillippines, which lies along the so-called "Ring of Fire" of seismically active regions in the Pacific.

The volcano eruption comes just weeks after Typhoon Phanfone, also known as Typhoon Ursula in the Philippines, struck the country over Christmas.

At least 50 people were killed and hundreds more were injured after wind gusts of up to 150km/h, heavy rain and flooding lashed the region on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

With Associated Press

Source: 9News

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