Mount Marapi: Eleven hikers killed as volcano erupts in Indonesia

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Watch: Indonesia volcano spews ash 3km into sky

By Jerome Wirawan & Joel Guinto
in Jakarta and Singapore

Eleven hikers have been found dead near the crater of Indonesia’s Marapi volcano after it erupted over the weekend, rescuers say.

Three people were rescued on Monday. The search for 12 others missing has been suspended due to a small eruption.

There were 75 hikers in the area at the time of the eruption but most were safely evacuated.

Mount Marapi, one of Indonesia’s 127 active volcanoes, spewed ash as high as 3km (9,800ft) into the air on Sunday.

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

The three people rescued, who were also found near the crater, were “weak and had some burns”, said Abdul Malik, head of the Padang Search and Rescue Agency. Forty-nine climbers were evacuated from the area earlier on Monday, many of whom also suffered burns.

Mount Marapi is located in West Sumatra

Video footage of Sunday’s eruption showed a huge cloud of volcanic ash spread widely across the sky, and cars and roads covered with ash.

Rescue workers took turns carrying the dead and the injured down the mountain’s arduous terrain and onto waiting ambulances with blaring sirens.

“Some suffered from burns because it was very hot, and they have been taken to the hospital,” said Rudy Rinaldi, head of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency.

One of the rescued hikers moaned in pain and said “God is great” as she piggybacked on a rescuer, AFP news agency reported.

Jodi Haryawan, spokesperson for the local search and rescue team, told reporters that it would be “too dangerous” to continue searching while the volcano was erupting.

The 2,891m (9,485ft) high Mount Marapi is located on Indonesia’s westernmost Sumatra island.

The Indonesian archipelago sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

with additional reporting from Hanna Samosir in Jakarta.

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