Indonesian authorities have brought the search and rescue operation following the eruption of Mount Marapi to a close, confirming the death toll at 23 hikers. The volcano, located on the island of Sumatra, is known for its unpredictability and frequent activity. On a fateful Sunday, while 75 individuals were hiking in its vicinity, the volcano belched out an ash column stretching 3,000 meters high, dramatically surpassing the height of the volcano itself.
The rescue operation was an uphill battle. The teams faced ongoing eruptions and adverse weather conditions that often forced them to take shelter, putting a brake on their progress. Despite the harsh conditions, the rescue teams, led by Basarnas, remained undeterred, their efforts finally culminating in the location of the last victim on Wednesday.
Mount Marapi: A Perilous Attraction
Mount Marapi, the most active volcano on Sumatra, has been on the second level of a four-tier alert system since 2011. A three-kilometer exclusion zone around its crater has been in effect as a precautionary measure. However, the volcano's allure for hikers and thrill-seekers often leads to disregard for these safety measures. Indonesia's volcanology agency hinted that the hikers may have been at fault for venturing too close to the crater, against recommendations.
Indonesia is located on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. With an estimated 130 active volcanoes scattered across its archipelago, the country is no stranger to seismic and volcanic activities. Despite the inherent risks, these natural wonders continue to draw tourists and adventurers from around the world, often with tragic consequences as seen in the recent Mount Marapi eruption.
As the rescue operation wraps up, the emergency post will remain active for families still seeking relatives. However, the rescue teams have been disbanded, marking the end of a grim and challenging mission. This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent dangers associated with nature's most volatile forces and the need for strict adherence to safety measures when exploring these fascinating yet perilous landscapes.