Indonesian authorities on Thursday called off the search for victims of a volcanic eruption that killed at least 23 people and injured dozens more on Java island.
The volcano erupted on Sunday, sending a 3km (9,800ft) ash cloud into the air, and depositing large amounts of volcanic ash in nearby districts. The eruption occurred while many climbers were on the mountain’s slopes, celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Out of 75 hikers who climbed the mountain on Saturday, 49 were evacuated, three were found alive and rescued, and 23 were found dead. Twelve of the survivors were injured.
The Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) has warned the public to stay away from the volcano, which is still at the second-highest alert level. The agency said that the volcano could erupt again at any time, and advised people to wear masks and goggles to protect themselves from the ash.
Mount Marapi is the most active complex volcano in West Sumatra province, and has erupted several times in the past. A significant eruption occurred in 1979, killing 60 people. The volcano last erupted in January 2023, but did not cause casualties.
“The potential for eruptions is still high. Therefore, we decided to end the search and rescue operation today,” said Raditya Jati, the agency’s spokesman.
He added that more than 1,300 people had been evacuated from the affected areas and were staying in temporary shelters.
The final body was recovered on Wednesday morning, Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said in a statement. The agency expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and thanked the rescue teams for their efforts.
The eruption was one of the deadliest in Indonesia in recent years. The archipelago nation has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.
In 2018, a volcanic eruption and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi killed more than 4,000 people. In 2014, an eruption of Mount Sinabung in Sumatra killed 16 people and forced thousands to flee their homes.