The Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Reunion Island erupted on 24 August, prompting tourists and locals to endure the cold night to watch molten lava erupt from the crater. This was the fourth eruption this year for the Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanos in the world.
The previous eruption happened on 31 July while Reunion Island was in the spotlight as beach cleaners found a piece of plane wing believed to have come from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Piton de la Fournaise volcano erupted at 6.50pm local time, after an increase of its seismic activity during the entire day, local authorities said in a written press release. The eruption was visible from Piton de Bert located at 2000m and not accessible by car, but reachable after a one hour walk.
Local hikers and tourists eager to watch the volcano in action ventured on the path at night with their headlamps, hiking shoes, cameras and a temperature of about zero degrees. "This is the first eruption of my life, this is the first time I come here, it has been all about "first times" in the last 24 hours," said Francoise, a tourist from Clermont-Ferrand, in Mainland France.
If some of the tourists on the site saw a volcanic eruption for the first time, others were regular watchers of eruptions, such as Romain, who is originally from Mainland France, but has moved to la Reunion Island in 2014.
"It is so wonderful that I am always ready. You put your sport shoes on and you go directly there. It is too beautiful; there is nothing more beautiful than that. It makes some nice souvenirs pictures," Romain, who hasn't missed an eruption in 2015, said.
Hikers stayed watching the volcano's lights, red smoke and lava all night. The road leading to the path to reach the view spot was particularly busy all night, with many cars queuing. As cars proceeded slowly towards the beginning of the path, local policemen were busy managing the traffic.
"Our experience during the last eruptions – those of end of July and May – shows that we can see some 2500 cars per day, between eight and midnight," local police captain Tanguy Madec said.