National authority confirms 106 tourists and locals safely evacuated after eruption
Hundreds more may have left through unofficial exits, but searches continue
Authorities are still searching for tourists after a volcano erupted close to a popular Indonesian hiking area on Tuesday, shooting ash more than a mile into the air.
About 1,113 tourists were in areas close to Mt Barujari when it first erupted on September 25, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the Indonesian National Disaster Agency, told CNN.
By the time of the second eruption on Tuesday, evacuations were well underway, although authorities were unable to say exactly how many tourists still remain dangerously close to the volcano.
The spokesman said some tourists had refused to leave because they wanted to take photos of the eruption.
Ash from the eruption at Barujari flew almost 1.2 miles (two kilometers) into the air.
An exclusion zone of three kilometers has been set up around the volcano, with all residents and tourists told to leave that area.
Evacuation teams heading back in
As of Wednesday, 106 people including 65 foreign tourists were evacuated from the area by Indonesia’s National Disaster Agency.
Hundreds more may have left the area through other, unmonitored exits, the spokesman said.
Mt Rinjani National Park authorities sent search teams on Wednesday to find and evacuate tourists and visitors who may have stayed behind from the exclusion area.
The Indonesian National Disaster Agency spokesman said the hike to the crater takes eight to nine hours.
The last eruption in the Rinjani Caldera, where Mt Barujari is located, was on August 1, 2016. The largest ever was in 1257.
CNN’s Sandi Sidhu contributed to this report.