Authorities said Wednesday that rescue teams were dispatched in search of hundreds of tourists after a volcano erupted in the Indonesian island of Lombok, located east of Bali. The volcano erupted without warning late Tuesday afternoon at one of the most popular hiking destinations.
Mount Barujari sent columns of ash and smoke 1.2 miles up in the air over the tourist spot. It is also called the Child of Rinjani as it sits within the Mount Rinjani caldera. No injuries have been reported.
The country’s Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho reportedly said that 389 foreign and local tourists had been registered since Sunday to enter the hiking trail that starts from Sembalun monitoring post, 7 miles from the volcano’s crater. The hike lasts several days.
Hikers were told to keep a 3 km (about 1.9 miles) distance from the volcano. Nugroho added that most hikers stuck to the official trail and rescuers are looking for any tourist who might have strayed from that trail.
Although the threat level of the volcano was upgraded Tuesday as it sent hot ash up into the sky, it still remains two levels away from the highest-risk category.
The eruption left farms and trees around the volcano coated with a thin layer of ash but nearby towns and villages are not in danger, Nugroho said.
Hemi Pramuraharjo, a spokesman for the transport ministry, told Agence France-Presse that no flight disturbances were recorded Wednesday due to the eruption. Some flights to and from Bali were canceled overnight but the international airport in Lombok is still functioning.
Heronimus Guru, deputy operations chief at Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, said that at least 120 tourists, mostly foreigners, have been located and were heading down the mountain.