11 climbers killed, 12 missing following Indonesian volcano eruption

By Heather Chen, Jamal Jamaluddin and Manveena Suri, CNN

Jakarta, Indonesia CNN  — 

Eleven climbers have died and another dozen are missing in Indonesia following the eruption of a highly active volcano in the province of West Sumatra, officials told CNN on Monday.

Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has 127 active volcanos – more volcanoes than anywhere else in the world – and Mount Marapi is among the country’s most active.

The 2,891 meter (9,500 feet) high volcano erupted on Sunday, spewing volcanic ash and sending giant plumes of smoke into the sky.

Evacuations are underway in the area, Abdul Malik, head of search and rescue teams in West Sumatra, told CNN and a team of 40 rescuers was currently on the mountain while eruptions were still taking place.

In addition to the 11 who had died, three climbers have been found alive but a further 12 remain missing, Malik said, their condition unknown.

A total of 75 people, including the climbers, have so far been evacuated, and those injured sent to hospital, according to an update issued on Monday morning.

A student walks as Mount Marapi volcano spews volcanic ash as seen from Nagari Batu Palano in Agam, West Sumatra province, Indonesia, December 4, 2023.

Photos showed cars, roads, and entire villages nearby also seen covered in ash.

Officials monitoring Marapi’s movements told CNN affiliate CNN Indonesia of potential dangers from Sunday’s eruption, including flowing molten lava which could reach roads and nearby rivers.

Marapi is one of the most-active volcanoes on Sumatra island and its most deadly eruption was in April 1979, when 60 people died, according to Reuters.

Following the latest eruption, authorities have raised the second highest alert and barred all activities within 2 miles of Marapi’s crater from being carried out. Ada Setiawan, an official with Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) told Reuters that masks had been distributed to residents and encouraged them to stay indoors.

Climbing routes and trails have also been closed, officials said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the volcano. It is Mount Marapi, not Mount Merapi

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