Hundreds Trapped On Indonesian Volcano After Earthquake

Mount Rinjani
Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images

According to CNN, about 700 hikers are currently trapped on top of and along Mount Rinjani, an Indonesian volcano located on the island of Lombok, in the wake of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the island on Sunday. Mount Rinjani, whose last eruption was in 2010, is approximately 12,224 feet tall.

The spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, reported that around 689 people are still trapped on the volcanic mountain after having been caught in landslides on the slopes of Mount Rinjani caused by the deadly earthquake that struck Lombok Sunday morning.

According to the agency, only 149 people are stuck on top of Mount Rinjani itself, while around 500 hikers are stranded in the Sembalun Village, which is located along the volcanic mountain’s slope. In addition, another 40 people are believed to be trapped in the nearby district of Batuceper. So far, only one death has been reported. The hiker who perished was reportedly struck and killed by falling rocks and debris.

Sutopo claimed that “at least 260 people had already been evacuated by Sunday afternoon.” A spokesperson for the Rinjani National Park, however, added that by Monday afternoon “another 109 had been rescued.”

CNN has obtained video footage from a Thai hiking group who were on the volcano when the earthquake hit, which shows large dust clouds covering the slopes of Mount Rinjani as a result of the earthquake-induced landslides. One of the hikers from the group, Tipatai Phusit, claims that he witnessed people being hit by falling debris.

“I saw landslides and there were some people falling down. After that I was falling down there too,” Phusit said.

On Monday, a large and well-equipped rescue team set out to help save and evacuate those still stranded on the volcano or trapped in nearby villages.

Mount Rinjani
  Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images

The official death toll of the earthquake is now at least 15. Joko Widodo, the Indonesian President, visited Lombok on Monday morning to meet with various villages who have been impacted by the earthquake. Ahead of the visit, Bey Machmudin, a government official, noted, “the president will meet with the people affected by the disaster and also hand over the aid.”

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency recorded at least 120 aftershocks caused by the initial earthquake on Sunday. A local hotel owner, Jean Paul Volchaert, reported his own experience of these aftershocks, saying, “we felt aftershocks for two hours after the initial earthquake, so we’re worried that there could be more damage caused.”