At least ten people were injured from the flying debris- taking shelter in a passing snowcat.
Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano, erupted for the second time in a month this week, spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air above Sicily.
Etna rises above the town of Catania, and records of its activity date back to 1,500 B.C. According to the Volcano Discovery site, there have been more than four dozen eruptions, with one ongoing.
The frightening ordeal was caught on camera by a BBC film crew, and science reporter Rebecca Morelle described the chaos.
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Thursday's eruption marked the third volcanic event on the mountain in the last three weeks.
Mt Etna in Sicily is one of the world's most active volcanoes, with a major eruption occurring once every few years.
Six people were taken to hospital in Catania and Acireale but doctors said their condition was not serious.
"The material thrown into the air fell back down, striking the heads and bodies of people who were closest", Mr Marino was quoted by local media as saying.
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One scientist said it's the most unsafe incident he'd ever seen in 30 years of studying volcanoes.
"Many injured - some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises".
Italy's Mount Etna has consistently erupted for thousands of years, as shown in this picture from October 30, 2002. The interaction of lava and snow caused the explosion that had boiling steam, boulders, and smaller rocks heated to high temperatures raining down on the fleeing spectators and a BBC journalist and camerawoman.
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