At least 11 bodies, believed to be those of mountain climbers, were found Monday after a volcanic eruption occurred on Indonesia's Sumatra Island the previous day, with rescuers continuing to search for 10 other climbers reportedly missing, a local search and rescue agency official said.

Mt. Marapi in West Sumatra Province erupted Sunday and spewed ash columns as high as 3 kilometers into the air, burning everything on the mountain slopes, said Jodi Harmawan, spokesman of the search and rescue agency in provincial capital Padang.

Mt. Marapi spews volcanic materials during its eruption in Agam, West Sumatra, Indonesia, on Dec. 4, 2023. (AP/Kyodo)

At least 75 mountain climbers were in the area when the eruption of the 2,891-meter high volcano occurred at 2:54 p.m. Fifty four of the climbers managed to descend or were evacuated by rescuers, the spokesman said.

Search and rescue agency officials have so far been unable to confirm whether the 11 bodies were mountain climbers because they did not find any identification documents on the burned bodies, he said.

The bodies have yet to be recovered because of their location, at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level, and because a smaller eruption occurred early Monday, the spokesman added.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.


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