More than 500 hikers have been rescued from the Mount Rinjani volcano, a popular tourist destination on the Indonesian island of Lombok, following a slew of landslides caused by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, reports Asian Correspondent.
According to the AAP, the National Disaster Management Agency said rescuers extracted 543 hikers after the powerful earthquake that left 16 dead and another 350 injured. A total of 189 foreigners were among the hikers rescued, agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said, adding the rescue team involved civilians, soldiers and police. The rescuers were also working on evacuating another six climbers and one dead body early Tuesday.
“I thought I was going to die,” said John Robyn Buenavista, a 23-year-old American, who was at the summit when the quake hit. “I was clinging to the ground. It felt like it lasted forever. I saw people fall off, but it’s a blur.”
The national park authority said on Monday that a key route to the peak of the 12,224-foot volcano had been cleared, and a helicopter was dropping supplies to others still picking their way to safety. Hundreds of trekkers in the crater in climbing areas couldn’t come down when they wanted to, because the paths were covered by debris from landslides and there were fears of subsequent landslides. As many as 820 people, most of them foreigners, were on Mount Rinjani when the quake struck, making two trails impassable.
Trekkers typically take two days and a night to get to the crater rim of Rinjani and back down again, the national park says on its website. The Lombok quake struck at 6:47 am at a shallow depth of 7 km that amplified its effect. Officials said 280 aftershocks followed the initial quake. Earthquakes are common in Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” on the rim of the Pacific Ocean.