Care to guess how that went for them? To its credit, the volcano waited until the most dramatic possible moment to launch the assault. An hour earlier, and all of the scientists would have been instantly killed as they stood right at the inner crater. An hour later, and they might have been at a relatively safe distance. But no, Galeras waited until they'd just stopped working for the day, and still had a sporting (yet slim) chance to get away. Then, and only then, did the ground start to rumble. Galeras erupted hard enough to send a 90-story cloud of ash, smoke, and gas into the air.
One engineer was hit with a blast of heat that reduced him to ash. Two others were instantly f*****g turned to gas. More yet were bombarded and burned to death by the scalding rocks. When the dust settled (not really; still lots of dust everywhere) nine of the 16 members of the expedition had been killed, and the survivors were pummeled halfway to oblivion.
Sadly, there wasn't a Great Eagle in sight.
Dr. Stanley Williams, the leader of the group, was standing right by the crater's rim when the eruption came. He managed to avoid the heat blast, but was still standing in a maelstrom of white-hot boulders and assorted smaller but no less dangerous elements. Clearly, he took a rock to the head, instantly shattering his skull and sending bone fragments deep into his brain. He managed to get away, only to have his legs savaged by the next rock bombardment.
His last line of defense was his mustache.
That might have been the end, if it wasn't for two of his colleagues, Marta Calvache and Patty Mothes. Calvache and Mothes had inexplicably decided to climb toward the volcanic eruption to check for survivors. They managed to locate Williams and drag him to safety. Apart from the burns, broken limbs, and shattered skull, Williams was fine. After they removed a piece of his brain that had too much skull in it.
When Mike isn't Mr Magooing his way through almost-certain-death situations, he's writing post-apocalyptic steampunk books. Follow him on Twitter.
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