Indonesian authorities announced Thursday that they had ended searches on the slopes of the Marapi volcano in western Indonesia, five days after an eruption that left 23 dead.
On Wednesday, emergency services announced the discovery of the body of the last hiker still wanted, bringing the death toll to 23.
In total, 75 hikers who had registered to access the slopes of the volcano had been recorded by the authorities since Saturday and 52 had been brought back alive by emergency services.
“All victims have been found, the last victim was found dead. Therefore, based on an assessment, the search and rescue operation carried out by (search and rescue agency) Basarnas is closed ” said Ichwan Pratama, head of the Agam Disaster Mitigation Agency.
“We will continue to activate the emergency station in case there are still families looking for their loved ones, they can come here by providing valid data,” he added.
If all the registered hikers have been listed, of whom 23 have died, it is possible that other hikers have climbed the volcano without having officially registered, a local police chief said on Wednesday.
The head of Indonesia’s volcanology agency, Hendra Gunawan, appeared to criticize the hikers on Monday for getting too close to the crater.
Rescuers evacuate the body of a victim of the Mount Marapi eruption on December 5, 2023 in Agam, on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia / ADI PRIMA / AFP
Marapi, whose name means “mountain of fire” in the local language, had been at the second alert level on a scale of four since 2011. A 3 km exclusion zone had been imposed around its crater.
Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the meeting of continental plates causes significant volcanic and seismic activity. The country has nearly 130 active volcanoes.