An Indonesian volcano eruption has claimed the lives of eleven climbers, while a search for twelve more remains temporarily halted due to safety concerns. The eruption of Marapi volcano in West Sumatra on Sunday sent shockwaves through the region, prompting a rescue operation that has so far yielded three survivors.
At the time of the eruption, approximately 75 climbers were in the vicinity. Jodi Haryawan, spokesperson for the search and rescue team, confirmed the discovery of eleven bodies alongside the three survivors.
Marapi, standing at an imposing 2,891 meters (9,485 feet), spewed ash plumes reaching an altitude of 3 kilometers. Authorities swiftly raised the alert level to the second-highest and imposed a 3-kilometer exclusion zone around the crater.
Video footage captured the harrowing scene, with a massive cloud of ash engulfing the sky and ash blanketing cars and roads. A subsequent eruption on Monday forced the suspension of the search operation. “It’s too dangerous to continue searching now,” explained Jodi.
Prior to the suspension, 49 climbers were evacuated from the area, many of whom suffered burns. Marapi, one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, experienced its deadliest eruption in April 1979, claiming the lives of 60 individuals.
This year, Marapi erupted between January and February, spewing ash up to 1,000 meters from its peak. Indonesia, situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, is home to 127 active volcanoes, according to the volcanology agency.