Omayra Sanchez eyes turn into black

Omayra Sanchez was a thirteen-year-old girl who lived in Armero, Colombia on November 13, 1985, when the Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted and destroyed the town of Armero and killed most of its inhabitants, including Omayra Sanchez. Sanchez’s eyes turned completely black after the blast. Sanchez claimed that before she died, she could see demons around her and they told her to go to hell. Some believers think that demons entered Sanchez’s body after her death and took over her eyes. They say these are not actually Sanchez eyes but are instead the devil’s eyes that people can see through.

How did Omayra Sanchez eyes become completely black?

To answer that question, we have to go back in time to 1985. On November 13th of that year, a volcano near Armero, Colombia erupted, sending pyroclastic flows racing down into Armero. Around 20 minutes later, they reached Armero and converted it in ash and rock. The flow was so hot that it melted parts of buildings as it passed by them. Omayra Sanchez who lived nearby saw her house destroyed in front of her very eyes. She never even had time to evacuate before she was trapped under rubble for 3 days without food or water until she died from starvation and exposure and dehydration.  When rescuers discovered her body, they noticed something strange about Omayra Sanchez eyes, they were completely solidified and had turned completely black.  They say it’s likely due to extreme dehydration, but scientists are still unsure how exactly Omayra Sanchez eyes lost their moisture and changed color.

Omayra Sanchez death

On November 13, 1985, a volcanic eruption in Colombia (Mt. Nevado del Ruiz) created mudslides that buried most of Armero, Colombia and killed more than 20,000 people. The most famous photograph was of a girl named Omayra Sánchez whose body was trapped under mud and debris up to her waist. Rescuers tried to pull her out with ropes but she died from asphyxiation. There is still debate about whether or not she could have been saved if they would have acted faster because there are other factors that caused her death such as respiratory failure due to oxygen deprivation and then there is also the possibility that she died from cardiac arrest before any attempts were made to rescue her . She lost her life on 16th of November 1985 at the age of 13.

Why Omayra Sanchez could not be rescued?

Rescue workers tried their best to rescue Omayra Sánchez due to lack of required equipment they could not do so. She eventually died from complications from asphyxiation after being trapped for days. Her story is one of many tragic stories that came about during that volcanic eruption.

Nevado del Ruiz volcano

On November 13, 1985, Colombian volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupted and released a cloud of ash that reached 11 kilometers (7 miles) high. The resulting pyroclastic flow was an avalanche of superheated gas and rock racing down Ruiz’s side at more than 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph). It completely wiped out Armero, a town in Colombia located at the base of Ruiz.  Estimates say as many as 23,000 people were killed—some reports suggest it may have been even higher—including 13-year-old girl Omayra Sanchez.

How volcano eruption occurs?

There is no sure way to predict an eruption, but scientists can warn when a volcano is about to blow its top. Monitoring features like gas emissions and seismological readings will give you an idea of what’s going on within a volcano. However, geologists don’t know exactly why or how a volcanic eruption occurs; although studies of previous eruptions have given us a pretty good idea of what goes on during them.  Essentially, lava at depth heats rock above it causing pressure to build up until suddenly… BOOM! Lava bursts through cracks in the Earth and explodes outwards in something called magmatic eruptions.   More often though, volcanoes erupt with little warning in something called phreatic eruptions that are driven by water heated from below by hot lava.


A picture is worth a thousand words, and in her case, it was most likely worth it. Omayra lost her life in 1985 while trying to escape mudslides that swept through Armero. In addition to a photograph of her face being preserved forever.  Her photo serves as a reminder of everything we must lose if we do not act on time. We must do everything possible to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.  No one should have to die like she did.

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