Twelve Still Missing after Indonesian Eruption

When Mount Marapi, an Indonesian volcano on the island of Sumatra, erupted on Sunday, it was unfortunately a busy day for hikers in the area. Eleven have been confirmed dead, and 12 more remain missing.

The eruption caught everyone by surprise. A three-kilometer-tall cloud of smoke and ash rose rapidly from the cone. According to local authorities, 75 people were nearby when the eruption occurred. Forty-nine were evacuated, many of them injured.

“Out of the 26 people who were not evacuated, we found 14,” said Abdul Malik of the Padang Rescue Authority. “Three were alive and 11 dead.”


Footage shot during the eruption, sometimes by the injured hikers themselves, shows them covered in ash, shocked, and with burns. Everything in a three-kilometer radius around the volcano is blanketed in ash.

A second eruption suspends rescue efforts

The greatest concern now is for those 12 who are still missing. Forty rescuers were mobilized to the area right after the eruption. This morning, they managed to rescue three more people still alive, according to BBC. However, another smaller eruption forced the suspension of rescue labors. Further news is expected in the next few hours, as it dawns in Western Sumatra.

Indonesia lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of high volcanic activity. The archipelago has 127 active volcanoes. Marapi (2,891m) is one of the most active volcanoes on Sumatra island. It has a sad history of deadly eruptions. The worst was in 1979 when 60 people died. In recent decades, it has always been in some stage of volcanic alarm, and eruptions are frequent.

It is also a popular spot for hikers, with a straightforward route to the crater that makes it doable for anyone ready to invest four to eight hours to reach the cone.

Hikers pose on a dark volcanic crater surrounded by mist or smoke.

Hikers near the summit of Mt. Marapi, Indonesia. Photo: Summitpost

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.