The people, who reportedly included BBC crew members, tourists, and one 78-year-old woman, were hit by lava and rocks.
They suffered from head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises, but the injuries are not thought to be serious. Six are recovering in the nearby Catania and Acireale hospitals, according to Il Corriere.
BBC science correspondent Rebecca Morelle, who was caught up in the eruption, said on Twitter “everyone [has been] taken off the mountain – rescue team and guides here were brilliant.”
According to Morelle, a “huge explosion” was caused by a lava flow mixing with steam, which pelted the group with boiling rocks. Volcanic explosions can occur when lava heats underground or surface water, turning it to steam.
She said that the injuries included head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises, and that a volcanologist had described the incident as the most dangerous in his 30-year career. “Explosions like this have killed,” she added.
Video footage made, March 15, 2017, following the resumption of the eruptive activity at the New South-east Crater of Etna, a few weeks after the last eruptive episode.
The first scene, dawn shooting from Tremestieri Etneo, a village 20 km south from the top of Etna, showing a weak strombolian activity, similar to that which was observed before the episode previous eruption, about two weeks ago (February 27 – March 1, 2017).
The second scene, taken from the town of Nicolosi, 15 km south from the top of Etna, shows the beginning of the most energy, with almost continuous explosions and emission of small amounts of volcanic ash. It also highlights a lava flow downhill on the southern flank of the New South-east Crater.
In the third scene, in the foreground, a ski lift on the high southern slopes of the volcano and in the background the eruptive activity. The shots were made near the arrival station of the Etna cable car to 2500 m altitude. Here the activity was further intensified.
At 3000 m of altitude, only 1 km away from the crater erupting, it can see the glowing lava flows that reach 150-200 m high.
Etna: update volcanic activity, March 16, 2017
During the eruption in progress since yesterday morning, at 12:43 (local time) today, March 16, an explosion occurred phreatic-magmatic at Belvedere (Western edge of the Valle del Bove), about 2700 meters of altitude on the sea. The explosion occurred at the front of the lava flow that emerges from a vent at the base of the New South-east Crater, about 3200 meters of altitude on the sea. Currently the lava advances with a temperature above 1000 degrees Celsius in an area covered with snow. The snow, to contact with the lava, it tends to melt, forming of puddles of water that may be coated by washing in advance. In that case, the water under the lava flow tends to vaporize and can cause phreatic-magmatic explosions as the one that occurred today. In explosive phenomenon he was also involved a National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology volcanologist – observatory Etneo (INGV-OE), Boris Behncke, who suffered minor bruises. The INGV-OE staff continues to constantly monitor the evolution of phenomena.
Video of ECV and EPS surveillance cameras showing the explosion of 12:43 hours (local time) today. The explosion is marked by a dense white cloud, which quickly expands.
The image at the end of video has been removed from the ENV surveillance camera, the black circle highlight the phreatic-magmatic explosion occurred at 12:43 (local time) today.