Skip to main content

Volcanic ash smothers part of Indonesia, kills 15

By Kathy Quiano and Mark Morgenstein, CNN
updated 12:03 PM EST, Sun February 2, 2014
Mount Sinabung releases ash into the sky during an eruption as seen from Payung village in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday, February 3. Sinabung erupted in 2010 and has been emitting gas since September. Mount Sinabung releases ash into the sky during an eruption as seen from Payung village in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday, February 3. Sinabung erupted in 2010 and has been emitting gas since September.
HIDE CAPTION
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
Volcano erupts in Indonesia
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hot ash up to 700 degrees raced down the mountain's slope in just a few minutes
  • Jakarta Post: This is the first time Mount Sinabung's eruptions have resulted in deaths
  • A recovery operation was scheduled for Sunday

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- The 15 victims simply couldn't outrun the searing debris that billowed out of Indonesia's Mount Sinabung.

Plumes of ash had spewed more than a mile into the sky Saturday and descended in superheated clouds. Scalding ash up to 700 degrees in temperature raced down the slope in just two to three minutes.

By the end of several eruptions, at least 15 people had been killed, a government official told CNN. It was the first time Mount Sinabung's volcanic output had resulted in deaths, the Jakarta Post reported.

On Sunday, the sky above the North Sumatra mountain was still the color of murky gray ash, as shown on video from the Indonesia Geologic Agency.

Indonesia volcano erupts

The victims, and at least three other injured people, were all found in Sukameriah, a village close to the volcano's crater, disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told CNN.

What you need to know about volcanoes

Local search-and-rescue teams were scheduled to go on a recovery operation Sunday, he said.

Eruptions at Mount Sinabung are becoming common. After about 400 years of minimal volcanic activity there, Sinabung erupted in 2010. It has been emitting gas since September.

The English-language Jakarta Post said while 31 people previously had died from eruption-related illnesses such as asthma and hypertension.

The unpredictable volcanic volatility has meant an itinerant existence for those who live in this region a 2½ hour flight from Jakarta. Last month, intensifying volcanic activity forced 22,000 people into temporary camps, but more than half were allowed to return home on Friday.

Japan's Mount Sakurajima erupts Monday, September 29. It was the second volcano in two days to erupt in Japan. Japan's Mount Sakurajima erupts Monday, September 29. It was the second volcano in two days to erupt in Japan.
Recently active volcanoes
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
Photos: Recently active volcanoes Photos: Recently active volcanoes

The newest volcanic activity has forced people to evacuate 16 villages, the Jakarta Post reported. At least 30,000 people have been temporarily housed at 42 evacuation centers, according to Billy Sumuan, the emergency response director in Indonesia for the humanitarian group World Vision.

Saturday's victims lived within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano. Some were there checking on their homes or were there just to watch the eruptions, Nugroho said. Others were students and volunteers in the region to help its beleaguered people, Sumuan said.

The government had issued the highest level of alert for the latest eruptions, and Sumuan noted that no one was supposed to go inside a 5-kilometer zone around the volcano.

Live video of the volcano

Several government agencies and nongovernmental humanitarian groups were on the scene Sunday helping those affected, including World Vision, which Sumuan said was helping children with their trauma and hygiene. The government and local churches handed out masks to everyone to mitigate breathing problems, he said.

Kathy Quiano wrote and reported on this story from Indonesia, Brian Walker reported from Atlanta, and Mark Morgenstein wrote and reported from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 10:41 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 5:30 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 5:15 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT