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Mount Marapi eruption – live: Race to rescue missing hikers in Indonesia after volcano kills at least 11

Search and rescue teams are trying to locate 12 hikers who were summiting Indonesia’s Mount Marapi volcano when it violently erupted on Sunday.

At least 11 hikers were killed by the eruption, officials have confirmed, with efforts still underway to retrieve their bodies from the mountain slopes.

Another three survivors were found injured, including with burns injuries, at the volcano’s crater.

In total, there were about 75 climbers on Marapi when it erupted. Of these, around 50 were evacuated immediately after the eruption, with West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency declaring an operation to find the remaining 26.

When it erupted, Marapi spewed ash as high as 3km into the sky and rained volcanic debris onto nearby villages.

Videos on social media showed the climbers being evacuated to a shelter, their faces and hair smeared with volcanic dust and rain.

Authorities over the weekend raised the alert to the second-highest level, shut down two climbing routes and prohibiting locals living on the slopes of Marapi from going within 3km of the crater due to potential lava flows.

Key Points

  • At least 11 hikers dead and 12 others missing after Marapi volcano eruption

  • ‘Dangerous’ conditions for Marapi search operation, say authorities

  • Rescued hiker went through ‘tremendous trauma’, says mother

12:48 , Sam Rkaina

We’re pausing our coverage of the Indonesia volcano but keep checking independent.co.uk for the latest updates

Indonesia is home to more than 120 active volcanoes

11:59 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region of high seismic activity along tectonic faultlines with some of the world’s most active volcanoes.

The archipelago has more than 120 volcanoes in all and the largest global population – nearly 8.6 million people – living close to a volcano.

Marapi – the most active volcano on Sumatra island – has been erupting since 2004 with a gap of two to four years.

Its deadliest eruption in April 1979 killed nearly 60 people.

Expert says Marapi volcano eruption was sudden

11:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The eruption of Marapi volcano was sudden and not preceded by a significant increase in volcanic earthquakes, said Hendra Gunawan, the head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation.

Deep volcanic earthquakes were only recorded three times between 16 November and on Sunday when the volcano erupted.

The deformation equipment or tiltmeter on the peak showed a horizontal pattern on the radial axis and slight inflation on the tangential axis.

“This shows that the eruption process is taking place quickly and the centre of pressure is very shallow, around the peak,” he told the Associated Press.

The volcano, one of the most active in the archipelago, has been observed regularly erupting since 2004 with a gap of two to four years.

“Marapi eruptions are always sudden and difficult to detect using equipment because the source is near the surface,” Mr Gunawan said, “This eruption was not caused by the movement of magma.”

Watch | Mount Marapi spouts thick ash plumes after eruption kills 11 hikers

11:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Hiker ‘affected psychologically’ after eruption, says mother

10:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

One of the rescued hikers hospitalised in Indonesia was going through “tremendous trauma’, her mother said.

The climber was on a hiking trip with her 18 school friends when the group got stranded on the mountain over the weekend.

The Marapi volcano erupted on Sunday, spewing ash as high as 3km into the sky.

“She is affected psychologically because she saw her burns, and she also had to endure the pain all night,” the hiker’s mother Rani Radelani, told AFP.

Volcanic ash cover vehicles, houses and roads in Indonesia

10:02 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Motorists ride past by as Mount Marapi spews volcanic materials during its eruption in Agam, West Sumatra (AP)
Motorists ride past by as Mount Marapi spews volcanic materials during its eruption in Agam, West Sumatra (AP)
Volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Marapi on Sumatra island covering vehicles in the village of Nagari Lasi (Indonesia's National Disaster Ag)
Volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Marapi on Sumatra island covering vehicles in the village of Nagari Lasi (Indonesia's National Disaster Ag)

Ash blankets villages on Marapi’s slopes

09:49 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

On Sunday, eight of the initial 50 rescued hikers were rushed to hospitals with burn wounds and broken limbs, said Hari Agustian, an official at the local search and rescue agency in Padang.

Videos on social media showed the climbers being evacuated to a shelter, their faces and hair smeared with volcanic dust and rain.

Falling ash blanketed several villages and blocked sunlight, according to the National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari, who added that authorities distributed masks and urged residents to wear glasses or goggles to protect them from volcanic ash.

About 1,400 people live on Marapi’s slopes in Rubai and Gobah Cumantiang, the nearest villages about 5 to 6km from the peak.

Marapi – the most active volcano on Sumatra island – killed nearly 60 people during its most deadly eruption in April 1979.

‘Dangerous’ conditions for Marapi search operation

09:32 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

The search operation was briefly suspended earlier today due to “dangerous” conditions following another small eruption.

West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency head Abdul Malik gave an update this morning, saying: “There are 26 people who have not been evacuated, we have found 14 of them, three were found alive and 11 were found dead,” said Mr Malik. “The evacuation process of the bodies and survivors are still ongoing.”

The ongoing eruption prevented air evacuation by helicopters, Mr Malik told AFP. “Visually, until this morning, smoke [is] still billowing from the top. Visually, everything still looks grey.”

Rescuers prepare for a search and rescue operation after Mount Marapi erupted, on Monday (AFP via Getty Images)
Rescuers prepare for a search and rescue operation after Mount Marapi erupted, on Monday (AFP via Getty Images)

At least 11 hikers killed in Mount Marapi volcano eruption

09:29 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

At least 11 hikers were found dead on Monday following a huge eruption at the Marapi volcano in Indonesia, as efforts continue to find another dozen climbers who have been reported missing.

Three survivors were found near the volcano’s crater, described as being in a weak condition and having suffered burns.

The 2,891-metre-tall Marapi volcano in West Sumatra province erupted on Sunday, spewing ash as high as 3km into the sky that rained volcanic debris onto nearby villages.

About 75 climbers became stranded after beginning their trek on Saturday, West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency head Abdul Malik said.

Of those, around 50 were successfully evacuated, while a rescue operation was launched to track down the other 26.

At least 11 hikers killed and dozen missing after Indonesia volcano eruption

09:27 , Adam Withnall

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog covering the Mount Marapi volcano eruption in Indonesia’s West Sumatra.