Disasters & Accidents

Search continues for last climber missing after Indonesian volcano eruption

Jakarta, Dec 6 (EFE).- Indonesian rescue teams continued to search Wednesday for the last hiker still missing following the weekend’s eruption of Mt. Marapi in West Sumatra, from which at least 22 people have died.

Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) confirmed to EFE the continuation of the search for the last climber known to have been on the volcano when it erupted on Sunday, after three days of intense work hampered by minor eruptions.

The authorities raised the number of deaths to 22 on Tuesday, having found 11 bodies throughout the day, leaving only one person still to be located.

West Sumatra police chief Suharyono told the media Tuesday that it is presumed that 23 were killed, while rescuers on Wednesday reiterated that the last missing person has not yet been declared dead.

The police chief said that 52 climbers were rescued alive from the volcano, the most active in Sumatra and a popular destination for climbers, and that some had “minor injuries, serious injuries and so on.”

Although the Indonesian authorities were aware that there were 75 climbers on Marapi at the time of the eruption, according to the registration records made by the climbers before undertaking their ascents, Suharyono said that they have not ruled out that there were more, since not all follow the registration protocol.

The eruption occurred around 2.54 pm local time (07:54 GMT) on Sunday, and was captured by residents of nearby towns who shared videos on social media of the enormous smoke plume expelled by the volcano, which caused a rain of ash in the area.

The volcano, with a summit of 2,891 meters and whose name translates as “Mountain of Fire,” is the most active on the island of Sumatra.

Indonesia is home to more than 400 volcanoes, of which at least 129 remain active and 65 are classified as dangerous.

The country sits within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by about 7,000 earthquakes a year, most of them of small magnitude. EFE

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