Volcano Calbuco Eruption Forces 1,500 People to Evacuate

Volcano Calbuco in southern Chile erupted for the first time in at least four decades on Wednesday, sending a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky.

Chile's Onemi emergency office declared a red alert following the eruption, which occurred about 1,000 km south of the capital Santiago near the tourist town of Puerto Varas.

About 1,500 people were being evacuated from the region, which is sparsely populated with just a few small communities, authorities said.

"There are a lot of people out in the streets, many heading to the gas stations to fill up on gas," Derek Way, a resident of Puerto Varas said.