Tourists flock to view destructive Spanish volcano

Fires smouldered as rivers of lava could be seen flowing down the mountain, sweeping away trees and sending huge plumes of smoke into the air.

Christine Briand and Eric Continsoux, French tourists from Versailles, had already booked their trip to the Canary island when the eruption began. Continsoux, a budding photographer, said he was keen to make the most of the opportunity to document the lava flow. But Briand was less convinced.

"If it was just me, we would have cancelled the trip and postponed it to another time," she said.

Eric Magnee, a Belgian pensioner living on the neighbouring island of Tenerife, travelled to La Palma to admire Cumbre Vieja at work.

"We are nothing compared to the force of nature, everything down here is destroyed", he said as streams of glowing lava lit up the mountainside.

Lava from the eruption that began on September 19 has laid waste to a total area of nearly 600 hectares, according to the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan.

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