Mount Marapi volcano eruption: 11 climbers killed in Indonesia

PADANG, Indonesia (AP) — The bodies of 11 climbers were recovered Monday a day after Mount Marapi volcano erupted as Indonesian rescuers searched for 12 people apparently still missing.

Hendra Gunawan, head of the Center for Volcanology and Geology, said Marapi has remained at the third highest of the four alert levels since 2011, a level that indicates higher than normal volcanic activity and bars climbers or villagers within 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of the summit. Disaster mitigation.

“This means there should be no climbing to the summit,” Gunawan said, adding that climbers were only allowed to be below the danger zone, “but sometimes many of them would break the rules to satisfy their desire to climb further.”

About 75 climbers had started their way up the nearly 2,900-meter (9,480-foot) mountain on Saturday and were stranded. Harry Agustian, an official at the local search and rescue agency in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province, said that eight of those rescued on Sunday were taken to hospitals with burns, and one of them suffered a broken limb.

Agustian said all the climbers registered themselves at two leadership centers or online through the West Sumatra Conservation Agency before climbing. He added that it was possible that others took illegal routes or that local residents were active in the area, but this could not be confirmed.

Marapi spewed thick columns of ash up to 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high in Sunday’s eruption, and clouds of hot ash spread several miles (kilometres). Tons of volcanic debris covered nearby villages and towns. Volcanic dust and rain stained the faces and hair of evacuated climbers, according to a video posted on social media.

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Falling ash covered several villages and blocked sunlight, and authorities distributed masks and urged residents to wear glasses to protect them from volcanic ash. About 1,400 people live on the slopes of Marabi in Rubai and Jubah Kumantiang, the nearest villages about 5 to 6 kilometers (3.1 to 3.7 mi) from the summit.

Gunawan said Sunday’s eruption was not preceded by a significant increase in volcanic earthquakes. Deep volcanic earthquakes were recorded only three times between November 16 and Sunday, while deformation or clinometer equipment at the summit showed a horizontal pattern on the radial axis and a slight amplification on the transverse axis.

He added: “This indicates that the eruption process occurs quickly and that the center of pressure is very shallow, around the summit.”

Gunawan said Marapi volcano has been observed to erupt regularly since 2004 with a gap of two to four years.

“The Marape eruption is always sudden and difficult to detect using equipment because the source is close to the surface, and this eruption was not caused by magma movement,” Gunawan said.

Abdul Malik, head of West Sumatra’s search and rescue agency, said rescuers found 11 bodies of climbers while searching for the missing and rescued three others on Monday morning.

“The process of evacuating the bodies and survivors is still ongoing,” he added, adding that rescuers were still searching for 12 climbers who were still missing.

Marapi volcano has been active since the eruption last January, which did not cause any casualties. It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is vulnerable to seismic disturbances due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

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Carmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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This story has been updated to correct the number of climbers still missing.

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