At least eleven hikers have died following the eruption of a volcano in western Indonesia. “There are 26 people who have not been evacuated. We found 14, three were found alive and eleven were found dead,” explained Monday, December 4 to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Abdul Malik, head of the search and rescue agency in Padang, speaking the day after the eruption. The eruption of Mount Merapi, on the island of Sumatra, began shortly before 3 p.m. (9 a.m. Paris time) on Sunday.

Mr. Malik said there were a total of 75 hikers who had been on the mountain since Saturday and rescuers were trying to count them. Twelve of them are still missing and 49 have come down from the mountain, some having been taken to hospital.

Ash ejected by Mount Merapi was observed up to 3,000 meters above its summit, Hendra Gunawan, head of the Indonesian Center for Vulcanology and Geological Hazards, said on Sunday.

3 kilometer exclusion zone

Rescue teams worked through the night to help hikers get to safety, the West Sumatra natural resources conservation agency said. Rudy Rinaldi, director of the West Sumatra disaster mitigation agency, told Agence France-Presse that some of the rescued hikers were receiving medical treatment. “Some suffered burns due to the high heat and were taken to hospital,” he said. “The injured are those who got close to the crater.”

Merapi, 2,891 meters high and whose name means “mountain of fire”, is the most active volcano in Sumatra. According to the authorities, it is currently at the third alert level, on a scale of four. Authorities have imposed a three-kilometer exclusion zone around its crater.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes significant volcanic and seismic activity. The country has nearly 130 active volcanoes.