A NATO fleet passing nearby reported seeing a "catastrophic volcanic eruption" at 7 p.m. local time Sunday on the island, about 70 miles off the Yemeni coast, said Ken Allan, a Navy Public Affairs with the Canadian Armed Forces.
"At this time, the entire island is aglow with lava and magma as it pours down into the sea," Allan said in an e-mail Sunday evening. "The lava is spewing hundreds of feet into the air, with the volcanic ash also (rising) a thousand feet in the air."
The NATO fleet was sailing toward the Suez Canal when it spotted the eruption. The government of Yemen asked NATO to assist in the search for survivors and the closet ship, the HMCS Toronto, was heading toward the island. The Canadian Armed Forces said they are trying to locate nine people believed to be at sea after the Yemen coast guard requested help. It is unclear why there was a discrepancy with the SABA report on the number of missing.