Offbeat Video

By Luke Kenton

This photographer was certainly hot under the collar when he dangled dangerously above an erupting volcano, searching for the perfect glimpse of a fearsome inferno. 

Usually employing a drone to witness the eruptions of Reunion island’s Piton de la Fournaise from above, nature documentarian Johnathan Payet decided to literally put himself in the hot seat on April 28 as he flew over the furnace in a helicopter.


Treated to a fiery display of not one but three simultaneous eruptions across a trio of volcanic mouths, Johnathan admits the heat was almost too hot to handle as hovered just a few hundred feet above the ground.

With the dense smell of sulphur permeating the air, the volcanic enthusiast captured the stunning footage of lava straining from the earth’s surface, ten months after the mountain’s last eruption. 

With the scintillating spectacle lasting several days, Johnathan said: “Access to the eruption is strictly forbidden, so the only way to get close to the volcano is through the air. 


“I was up in the air just 16 hours after the eruption started – this happens about once a year.

“This one though is even more impressive, because we had four volcanic cones erupting at the same time, most of the time there’s only one. 

“It’s a privilege to witness this stunning show of nature – you could even feel the heat as much as 300 metres above the ground. 


“I’ve followed this volcano since 2014, but this way my first flyover in person. 

“It’s certainly not the same with the drone, when you’re up there witnessing it with your own eyes, it’s far more impressive.”