La Palma towns locked down as lava streams into ocean.

Authorities on the Spanish island of La Palma ordered residents of three coastal towns to stay indoors on Monday after a fresh stream of lava from the island's erupting volcano poured into the ocean, sending thick clouds of potentially toxic gas high into the sky.

A third tongue of lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been erupting for two months, reached the water around midday (12:00 GMT), a couple of kilometres north of where two previous flows hit the sea.

Drone footage from the local council showed white clouds of steam and gas billowing out of the water as the red hot molten rock slid down a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean.

Residents in Tazacorte, San Borondon and parts of El Cardon were told to stay inside with doors and windows shut as strong winds blew the cloud back inland.

The airport was also closed and is likely to remain so for up to 48 hours due to the unfavourable weather conditions, said Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Pevolca eruption response committee.

He added that residents in the capital Santa Cruz had been advised to wear masks for the first time since the eruption began due to high concentrations of particles and sulphur dioxide in the air.

Soldiers from the Military Emergency Unit were deployed to measure air quality in the area,

According to the Copernicus disaster monitoring programme, some 2,650 buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the lava flows, which have forced the evacuation of thousands from their homes.

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