11 bodies recovered after volcanic eruption in Indonesia, 22 climbers still missing


PADANG, Indonesia (AP) — The bodies of 11 climbers were recovered Monday after a massive eruption of the Mount Marapi volcano, while Indonesian rescue teams searched for at least 22 others reportedly missing.

The sudden eruption on Sunday at Mount Marapi in the Agam district of West Sumatra province spewed thick layers of ash up to 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) into the sky and spread clouds of hot ash for several miles (kilometres). The village and nearby towns were covered with tons of volcanic debris.

About 75 climbers began climbing the nearly 2,900-metre (9,480-foot) mountain on Saturday and became trapped.

Of those rescued on Sunday, eight were taken to hospitals with burn wounds and one with a broken limb, said Hari Augustian, an official with the local search and rescue agency in the provincial capital Padang.

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

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“The process of removing bodies and survivors is still ongoing,” he said, adding that rescue workers were still searching for the 22 climbers reportedly missing.

A video on social media on Saturday showed climbers being taken to a shelter, their faces and hair caked with volcanic dust and rain.

Ahmad Rifandi, an official at Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, said two climbing routes were closed after the eruption and residents living on Marapi's slopes were evacuated 3 kilometers (1.8 mi) from the crater's mouth due to possible lava. ) were advised to stay away. Marapi monitoring post.

National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said falling ash covered several villages and blocked sunlight. He said officials distributed masks and urged residents to wear goggles to protect them from volcanic ash.

About 1,400 people live on the slopes of Marapi in Rubai and Goba Kamantiang, the nearest villages about 5 to 6 kilometers (3.1 to 3.7 mi) from the peak.

Marapi's alert level was maintained at the third highest of four levels, Abdul Muhari said, and confirmed that officials were closely monitoring the volcano after sensors detected increased activity in recent weeks.

Marapi has been active since an eruption in January, which caused no casualties. It is one of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia that are at risk of seismic upheaval due to its location on the "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines that encircle the Pacific Basin.

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