Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mount Pelee

Volcano located on the French island of Martinique in the Caribbean. Mt. Pelee is well known for his destructive past. It was the early morning, may 8th in 1902, when eruption started killing in one day more than 30000 people. Completely destroying city of Saint-Pierre, leaving only two survivors. One them was 25 year Louis Auguste Cyparis a convicted felon who cut his friend with a glass during the bar fight. Interestingly Louis escaped the jail night before the eruption, but he reported himself to the jail the very next morning. He survived because his dungeon cell had poor ventilation. He became local celebrity.

Second survivor was a young girl called Havivra Da Ifrile. She escaped in the the small boat towards the cave where she played hide and seek with her brother. This is her statement from 1902:

"Just as I got to the main street I saw this boiling stuff burst from the top of the Corkscrew and run down the side of the hill. It followed the road first, but then as the stream got bigger, it ate up the houses on both sides of the road. Then I saw that a boiling red river was coming from another part of the hill and cutting off the escape of the people who were running from their houses."

"But before I got there I looked back -- and the whole side of the mountain which was near the town seemed to open and boil down on the screaming people. I was burned a good deal by the stones and ashes that came flying about the boat, but I got to the cave."