Advertisement

Eleven hikers killed in Mount Marapi volcano eruption in Indonesia

Eleven hikers killed in Mount Marapi volcano eruption in Indonesia

At least 11 climbers were killed in the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Mount Marapi while 12 are still missing.

The bodies were recovered early on Monday, when three more survivors were also rescued, after the disaster hit over the weekend.

Evacuation processes were still ongoing, but have since been suspended because of a small eruption.

"It's too dangerous if we continue searching now," the spokesperson for the rescue team Jodi Haryawan said.

About 75 hikers were in the area when the nearly 9,480-foot mountain volcano spewed ash about 9,800ft into the air on Sunday.

Students are seen at school as Mount Marapi volcano spews volcanic ash as seen from Nagari Batu Palano in Agam, West Sumatra (via REUTERS)
Students are seen at school as Mount Marapi volcano spews volcanic ash as seen from Nagari Batu Palano in Agam, West Sumatra (via REUTERS)

Eight of those rescued on Sunday were rushed to hospitals with burns and one also had a broken limb, rescuers said.

Social media images show climbers with their faces and hair smeared with volcanic dust and rain.

Falling ash blanketed several nearby villages and blocked sunlight - authorities distributed masks and urged residents to wear eyeglasses to protect them from volcanic ash.

About 1,400 people live on Marapi's slopes in Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, the nearest villages about 3.1 to 3.7 miles from the peak.

Rescuers prepare for a search and rescue operation after Mount Marapi erupted near Batu Palano village in Agam (AFP via Getty Images)
Rescuers prepare for a search and rescue operation after Mount Marapi erupted near Batu Palano village in Agam (AFP via Getty Images)

The head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation, Hendra Gunawan, said the eruption was not preceded by a significant increase in volcanic earthquakes - deep volcanic earthquakes were only recorded three times between November 16 and Sunday.

Marapi has been observed regularly erupting since 2004 with a gap of two to four years.

"Its eruptions are always sudden and difficult to detect using equipment because the source is near the surface," Mr Gunawan said. "This eruption was not caused by the movement of magma."

Marapi has been active since a January eruption that caused no casualties.

It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Authorities have raised the alert to the second-highest level and prohibited residents from going within 3km of the crater.