Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 13:24 UK

Iceland field trip party evacuated after volcano erupts

Icelandic volcano
The volcano erupted while the students were in Iceland

Dozens of Leicestershire students were evacuated from accommodation in Iceland after the volcano eruption which has grounded flights across Europe.

The pupils, from Loughborough High School, had been on a geography field trip when the volcano under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull area erupted.

The 14 and 15-year-olds had been in the Hellisholar area but were evacuated to Laugararvatn.

Geography teacher Jane Prescott said the group was safe and well.

Rising water levels

Ms Prescott said the students and teachers were woken from their accommodation in the early hours and moved to a nearby school for safety.

She said: "During the night we were woken at four o'clock local time and evacuated, but we didn't have much time to get things together.

"It was quite concerning, but the Icelandic authorities were very reassuring and we are now to the west of the volcano, so we're OK.

"We were kept informed by the authorities who were telling us about the flood waters coming off the glacier and the rising water levels.

"It was very cloudy and dark [during the night] but we could see the plume of steam and ash coming from the volcano.

Student Eleanor Pritchard said the group had had to leave their accommodation in their pyjamas.

Flying restrictions

"We were in our pyjamas and had nothing, but now we've been able to get our things it's a bit like an adventure.

"Going to the school where we were evacuated at four o'clock we weren't scared, but a bit anxious, although now it doesn't feel like that actually happened."

The students are due to return to the UK on Friday, but travel plans are subject to flying restrictions being lifted.

All flights in and out of the UK have currently been suspended as ash from the volcanic eruption moves south.

Safety body Eurocontrol said up to 4,000 flights across northern Europe would be cancelled on Thursday.



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