Hundreds of Sicilian villagers, led by their parish priest, today (Tuesday) marched in procession up the sides of the erupting Mount Etna.
SV Villagers praying at roadside
GV & LV Villagers follow priests in procession (3 shots)
G Stream of lava at night (3 shots)
SV Tourists & newsmen at crater's edge (2 shots)
SV Man shaping lump of molten lava
LV Man scoops lava from stream with long pole
CU & LV Streams of molten lava (3 shots)
Initials SGM/0000 SGM/0036
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Background: Hundreds of Sicilian villagers, led by their parish priest, today (Tuesday) marched in procession up the sides of the erupting Mount Etna. The villagers carried the bones of their patron saints hoping that their pilgrimage would prevent their homes being engulfed by the moving mass of lava. The lava flow is moving towards the village of Sant'Alfio at the rate of about 50 yards (metres) an hour. This film was shot by a British Broadcasting Corporation team on the erupting mountain.
SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of Sicilian villagers, led by their parish priest, today (Tuesday) carried relics of their patron saints into the path of a massive lava stream flowing down the erupting Mount Etna volcano. The villagers marched towards the lava, shouting prayers for deliverance and singing hymns that asked for divine intervention to save their homes.
This is the source of Mount Etna's lava flow -- six thousand feet up on its slopes. Geologists have estimated that here at its source, the lava is moving at about 30 yards (metres) a minute. The molten rock falls almost vertically before joining into one massive lava river about 50 feet (15 metres) wide and six feet (2 metres) deep.
The sight is so spectacular that dozens brave an hour's trek through valleys and over lava gulleys to watch from the nearest hillside.
Many of the braver tourists venture to the edge of the molten lava, extracting lumps of the rock which will eventually became souvenir ashtrays. But the lava which is so spectacular at night takes on a different complexion during the daylight hours. Then it becomes a fearful, destructive mass, swallowing all in its relentless path. For those who live in the villages in the path of the lava it's now a matter of waiting..and praying.