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Volcanic eruption kills at least 11 hikers in Indonesia

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The bodies of 11 hikers were found on the slopes of Mount Marapi on the Indonesian island of Sumatra after a volcanic eruption sent plumes of ash tumbling down the mountain on Sunday, the local search and rescue agency said Monday. safety.

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 fell on nearby towns and residents were urged not to leave their homes, the agency said.

The local search and rescue team based in Padang town said 12 climbers were still missing. Efforts to find them have been blocked by periodic volcanic activity, team leader Abdul Malik said in a statement. As of Monday morning, eight eruptions had been recorded.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, spans 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 climbers were still camping on the volcano despite warnings not to climb.

About 75 hikers were on the mountain when the volcanic activity began on Sunday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said. As of Monday, twenty-eight people had been rescued.

Muktita Suhartono contributed reporting.

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