Indonesian rescuers have found the bodies of 11 climbers after the Merapi volcano erupted in West Sumatra.
A rescue official said three people had been found alive at the volcano and at least 12 climbers were still missing. Another official estimates the number of missing at 22.
The search for them was temporarily halted for safety reasons after a small eruption on Monday led to the search being suspended, said Jodi Haryawan, a spokeswoman for the search and rescue team.
“It’s too dangerous if we continue searching now,” he told the Reuters news agency.
Forty-nine climbers were evacuated from the area Monday and many of them were being treated for burns, he said.
“There are 26 people who have not been evacuated, we found 14, three were found alive and 11 were found dead,” Abdul Malik, head of the search and rescue agency, said on Sunday. Padang.
He said there were a total of 75 hikers on the mountain Saturday.
The volcano erupted on Sunday with plumes of white and gray ash, stranding and injuring climbers and spreading volcanic ash over several villages.
Two climbing routes were closed after the eruption and residents living on Merapi’s slopes were advised to stay 3 km from the crater’s mouth due to the potential presence of lava, said official Ahmad Rifandi. of the Indonesian Volcanology and Geological Hazards Mitigation Center. Merapi monitoring post.
However, about 75 climbers had started climbing the nearly 2,900-meter (9,480-foot) mountain on Saturday. More than 160 people, including police and soldiers, were deployed to search for them, said Hari Agustian, head of the local search and rescue agency in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province.
It was earlier reported that eight of those rescued were taken to hospital with burns and one had a broken limb, he said.
A video posted on social media showed the evacuated climbers, their faces and hair stained with volcanic dust and rain.
“Some suffered burns because it was very hot and they were taken to hospital,” Rudy Rinaldi, director of the West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency, told AFP. “Those who are injured are those who got closer to the crater.”
Rescue teams worked through the night to help bring the climbers to safety, West Sumatra’s natural resources conservation agency said.
The eruption sent plumes of ash more than 3,000 meters into the air. Falling ash covered several villages and blocked sunlight, National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said. Authorities distributed masks and urged residents to wear goggles to protect themselves from volcanic ash, he said.
About 1,400 people live on the slopes of Merapi at Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, with the nearest villages being five or six kilometers from the summit.
Merapi’s alert level was kept at the third highest level out of four, Abdul Muhari said, and confirmed that authorities were closely monitoring the volcano after sensors detected increasing activity in recent weeks.
Merapi has been active since an eruption in January which caused no casualties. It is one of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific basin.
With Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse