The Jakarta Post
As many as 120 mountaineers were rescued from Mount Merapi at midday on Friday in Boyolali, Central Java. The mountaineers were at the Pasar Bubrah or Post II area, only 2 kilometers from the mountain's apex, when the eruption happened.
“Everyone was saved and is fine. Personnel from the Boyolali Disaster Mitigation Agency [BPBD] and Barameru Merapi Search and Rescue team escorted them through the Selo path, a relatively easy route to descend. We deployed four teams to rescue them,” Boyolali BPBD head Bambang Sinung said on Friday.
A sudden phreatic eruption took place at 7:32 a.m. on Friday, spewing volcanic ash as high as 5,500 meters. A phreatic eruption is caused by the heating and expansion of groundwater. They are also generally weak eruptions.
The Boyolali BPBD was also monitoring the three villages nearest to Merapi.
There are three villages within a 5-kilometer radius of Merapi: Jrakah, Klakah and Tlogolele. “Everyone is safe, there is no rescue mission there,” Bambang said.
The head of Mount Merapi National Park, Ami Nurwati, said her office had closed all paths to Merapi’s peak, either from Yogyakarta, Magelang or Boyolali.
Her office also instructed Yogyakarta’s Tourism Agency to close several tourist sites at the foot of Merapi, including Kaliurang, Kaliadem and the Lava Tour, until the area was deemed safe again. (evi)