11 hikers dead after Indonesia volcano erupts, dozen still missing

AGAM, INDONESIA   -   Eleven hikers were found dead Monday and another 12 were missing after a volcano erupted in Indonesia, with rescuers racing to carry injured and burned survivors down the mountain on foot. Rescuers worked through the night to find dozens of hikers stranded on Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra after it spewed an ash tower 3,000 metres (9,340 feet) -- taller than the volcano itself -- into the sky on Sunday. The dead hikers were found near Marapi’s crater after the 2,891-metre volcano rained ash on nearby villages, according to a local rescue official. Twelve were missing, three more were found alive and 49 had safely descended from the crater, some with burns and fractures, the official said. “Until now I have not received any information,” said Dasman, father of missing hiker Zakir Habibi, who made a two-hour drive from Padang city to the base of the mountain last night in hope of good news. “I will stay here until I hear some news,” said Dasman, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Neither the three survivors nor the 11 dead bodies had reached the bottom of the mountain as of Monday afternoon, local rescue agency chief Abdul Malik told AFP, as heavy rain and poor visibility hampered rescue efforts. “It slowed the evacuation team”, said Malik, adding that about 120 rescuers were involved in the response. “The search will be conducted for seven days. Let’s pray they all survive,” he said.

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