Tragedy struck Mount Marapi in Indonesia as at least 11 climbers lost their lives, and 22 are feared missing following a volcanic eruption. The incident occurred a day after the volcano, situated in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province, started emitting smoke and ash.
Search spokesperson Jodi Haryawan reported that approximately 75 individuals were ascending the 2,891m (9,485 ft) Mount Marapi when the eruption took place. The eruption led to thick columns of ash rising up to 3km, covering nearby roads and villages. The rescue operation faced additional challenges when a smaller eruption occurred, temporarily suspending the search efforts.
Rescue teams, led by Abdul Malik, head of West Sumatra’s search and rescue agency, worked to recover bodies and survivors. Many of those evacuated were treated for burns, emphasising the severity of the volcanic activity. The search for the 22 missing climbers continued amid difficult conditions.
Mount Marapi is known as one of the region’s most active volcanoes, and this is not the first time it has erupted in recent months. Earlier eruptions were recorded between January and February, indicating ongoing volcanic activity. The deadliest eruption on Mount Marapi took place in April 1979, claiming the lives of 60 people.
The latest incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of volcanic activity and the risks associated with climbing active volcanoes. Authorities are actively involved in search and rescue operations, emphasising the need for caution and preparedness in areas prone to volcanic activity.