Mt. Etna eruption sparks fears of flight disruptions

Smoke and ash billow from Mount Etna framed by the Sicilian town of Zafferana, near Catania, southern Italy, Thursday Jan. 5, 2012. The eruption of the Mount Etna lasted a few hours and was the first in 2012. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi)

January 5, 2012 3:37:48 PM PST
Italy's Mount Etna volcano is erupting, sending plumes of ash thousands of feet into the air and sparking fears of flight disruptions.

This is the first eruption of the New Year.

Orange lava could be seen flowing from Etna, on the island of Sicily Thursday.

Officials at a nearby airport are holding crisis meetings, but for the moment flights have not been halted. Air traffic, however, is limited.

Etna is considered Europe's most active volcano.