The search for victims following the weekend eruption of Indonesia's Mount Marapi has concluded, with a total of 23 confirmed fatalities and several injuries. The eruption occurred while approximately 75 climbers were on the nearly 2,900-meter mountain in West Sumatra province. The body of a female university student, discovered on Wednesday, brought the death toll to 23, and officials now believe all victims have been accounted for.
Abdul Muhari, the spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, announced the end of the search and rescue operation, stating, "authorities have ended the search and rescue operation in Mount Marapi as all the victims have been found by late Wednesday." The National Search and Rescue Agency ensured that all recovered bodies were taken to a hospital for identification, as reported by AP.
Despite initial challenges posed by thick ash columns reaching over 9,800 feet, rescue teams managed to save 52 climbers after the eruption, with several individuals receiving medical attention for injuries. Ongoing eruptions hindered search and recovery operations temporarily by reducing visibility and spreading ash into the air.
Mount Marapi, known for its unpredictable eruptions not linked to deep magma movements, has been on Indonesia's second-highest alert level since 2011. This level indicates above-normal volcanic activity, requiring climbers and residents to maintain a distance of more than 3 kilometers from the peak. Although climbers were not permitted to enter the danger zone, local officials acknowledged that some may have disregarded these restrictions.
Situated in Indonesia, a country with over 120 active volcanoes and prone to seismic activity due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire,"