The bodies of 11 hikers were found on the slopes of Mount Marapi on the Indonesian island of Sumatra after a volcanic eruption sent ash plumes cascading down the mountain on Sunday, the local search and rescue agency said on Monday.
Dozens of climbers were on the active volcano in West Sumatra Province when it began spewing a column of ash nearly 3,000 meters high, according to Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Volcanic ash rained on nearby towns, and residents were advised not to leave their homes, the agency said.
The local search and rescue team based in the city of Padang said that 12 climbers were still missing. Efforts to find them have been stalled by periodic volcanic activity, the team leader, Abdul Malik, said in a statement. As of Monday morning, eight eruptions had been recorded.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, is sprawled across the so-called Ring of Fire, where the meeting of tectonic plates catalyzes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mount Marapi has erupted several times in recent years; during an eruption in January, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that climbers were still camping on the volcano despite warnings not to ascend.
About 75 hikers were on the mountain when the volcanic activity began on Sunday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said. Twenty-eight had been rescued as of Monday.
Muktita Suhartono contributed reporting.