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Volcano erupts while Kenmare teen is in Guatemala

Hunter Rodin felt a raindrop on his arm while walking from church to a McDonald’s restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala June 3.

6/12/18 (Tue)

Hunter Rodin felt a raindrop on his arm while walking from church to a McDonald’s restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala June 3.

What was unusual about that raindrop is that it was black, Rodin said. He described it as being similar to a turf pellet. More unusual drops fell and just as quickly “the rain” stopped.

“We didn’t have any idea of what was going on,” Rodin said. “We thought it was cool. We thought it (Volcan de Fuego) was just spewing out.”

Rodin and nine others in the North Dakota Fellowship of Christian Athletes were wrapping up a mission trip to Guatemala when Volcan de Fuego erupted June 3, leaving nothing more than lava and ash in its wake.

According to Rodin, Sunday was market day in Antigua and the North Dakota group picked up souvenirs that afternoon. It wasn’t until they returned to their base in Guatemala City that they learned of the volcano’s flare up.

Volcan de Fuego is about 10 miles to the southwest of Antigua and 27 miles southwest of Guatemala City.

When they returned to the base, one of the leaders told them what had happened on the volcano and showed them photographs and video of the eruption. They also saw some of the ash in Guatemala City.

On the drive back to Guatemala City, the group saw a road that was covered with ash, but they still didn’t realize it had erupted.

“That’s when we learned six people had died,” Rodin said. “We were totally blind to that. We didn’t know.”

Nobody from Rodin’s immediate group spoke Spanish, at least not anymore than was necessary to get from one place to another. They didn’t have access to Guatemalan TV or radio that day and they were off the grid the week they spent in Guatemala, other than calls home.

“I can speak for everyone on this,” Rodin said. “We didn’t miss our phones or social media. And for most of us, we could have stayed a little longer.”

The eruption happened the day before the North Dakota group was to fly back to the United States. They did get a flight out to Atlanta, unfortunately, it was nearly 10 hours delayed because of the ash and other debris on the runway.

Rodin said there was a three-hour time window for that aircraft to get airborne.

 “Otherwise, who knows how long we may have been there,” he said. “We flew out, then the runway was covered with ash.”

Since Rodin returned home to North Dakota, he’s looked at dramatic photos and videos of the volcano’s eruption.

The village where they worked is presumably safe as nearly all of the ash and lava flowed to south and west of the volcano.

Other villages, golf course and coffee farms were totally destroyed because of the lava and/or ash.

At last report, 99 were confirmed dead and 150 remained missing.

Volcan de Fuego is considered the most active volcano in central America and June 3 marks the second time in 2018 that it has erupted. Because of loss of life and property damage, the June 3 eruption marked the worst outburst of Volcan de Fuego in more than 100 years... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!