11 Bodies Recovered After Deadly Volcano Eruption, Search for 22 Missing Halted After Second Blast

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Indonesian authorities halted Monday the search for 12 climbers after Mount Marapi volcano erupted again, unleashing a new burst of hot ash as high as 2,620 feet into the air, officials said.

The bodies of 11 climbers were recovered earlier in the day — while searching for those missing — but attempts to relocate them were hindered by the renewed activity, West Sumatra’s Search and Rescue Agency head Abdul Malik said. The search operation would resume once conditions improved, he added.

A video released by the agency showed rescuers evacuating an injured climber on a stretcher off the mountain and into a waiting ambulance to be taken to hospital.

Marapi initially erupted on Sunday spewing clouds of hot ash.

The volcano has stayed at the third highest of four alert levels since 2011, a level indicating above-normal volcanic activity, prohibiting climbers and villagers within 1.8 miles of the peak, said Hendra Gunawan, the head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation.

“This means that there should be no climbing to the peak,” Gunawan said, adding that climbers were only allowed below the danger zone, “but sometimes many of them broke the rules to fulfill their satisfaction to climb further.”

About 75 climbers had started their way up the nearly 9,480-foot mountain on Saturday and became stranded. Auhtorities rescued 52, including three on Monday. Eight of those rescued Sunday were rushed to hospital with burns and one suffered a broken limb, said Hari Agustian, an official at the local Search and Rescue Agency in Padang, the West Sumatra provincial capital.

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