The daring rescue operation had been in preparation for days.

A specialist company flew from Galicia in northern Spain to the disaster area in the west of La Palma.

With drones, she wanted to save four dogs on the Atlantic island, whose fate seemed at times to attract more attention in Spain than the suffering of the people who fled by the hundreds from the new lava flows.

Hans-Christian Rößler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb, based in Madrid.

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In a water basin near Todoque, the four animals had been surrounded by lava flows for a good two weeks.

They were supplied from the air for days until everything was ready for the first rescue operation of this kind, for which the authorities had given special permission;

there is a flight ban for helicopters.

First they were to be lured with food and then nets were thrown over them so that they could be recovered with a cargo drone.

Human traces on the volcanic ash

But on one of the last reconnaissance flights, the dogs suddenly disappeared, as the company "Aerocameras" announced. Instead, human traces were found in the air on the volcanic ash and a large poster on a wall. A “Team A”, as it calls itself, writes in red: “La Palma is strong. The dogs are doing well. ”This could also be seen in a video that the online portal Palmerus distributed. The only living things the cameras spotted were two wild rabbits, reported the Spanish newspaper El País.

The rescuers had to negotiate hot lava of up to 160 degrees that surrounded the basin and ignore the police restricted zone that has cordoned off the area. It is therefore unlikely that they will go public themselves. Animal rights activists also do not believe that the dogs could have set out on their own, as they were neither hungry nor thirsty and therefore would not endanger themselves. Even if there was still no trace of them, it was assumed in La Palma that they are safe and sound.

At the same time, the residents of several quarters of Tazacorte had to get their belongings to safety after a lava flow suddenly moved in the direction of the port, which had previously been largely spared.

The new, 1100 degrees hot current could soon reach the sea.

The lava destroyed almost 2,200 buildings and now covers an area of ​​over 860 hectares.

Keywords: la palma, dog rescue, dogs, lava flows, drones, island, departure, middle, group, rescue operation, people, disaster area, company, preparation, rescuers