13 tourists remained missing after volcano eruption in central Indonesia

JAKARTA — A total of 13 holiday makers, including foreigners, who were visiting Mount Barujari in central Indonesia when the volcano erupted earlier this week, have not returned from the area, a senior official of local disaster agency said on Saturday.

Mount Barujari, child of Mount Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara province spewed a column of massive ash by up to 2 km to the sky on Tuesday, forcing authorities to force hundreds of tourists to leave the area, Head of Emergency Unit of the province Agung Pramuja said.

“There have been many tourists evacuated. Still 13 others have not returned,” he told Xinhua by phone from the province.

The official said the data was obtained from the officials at the Gunung Rinjani National Park.

Authorities have declared a radius of 3 km from the crater as dangerous zone, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster agency.

A total of 1,023 foreign holiday makers and 56 domestic visitors were visiting the volcano when the eruption took place, Sutopo said.

“Scores of holiday makers are reluctant to leave the zones. They knew it is dangerous but they insisted to stay as they wanted to film the eruption,” he said.

People living near the volcano have been warned to be alert as local authorities are preparing more than 300,000 masks for them, according to Sutopo.

Indonesia, an archipelago country home to over 17,500 islands, has 129 active volcanoes. PNA/Xinhua – northboundasia.com