Lombok (Indonesia), July 30: More than 500 hikers and their guides remain stranded by landslides on an active volcano on Lombok, a day after a powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian holiday island, a national park official said today.
Helicopters and rescue teams on foot have been deployed to scour the slopes of Mount Rinjani, which is crisscrossed with hiking routes popular with tourists.
“There are still 560 people trapped. Five hundred are in Segara Anakan area, and 60 are in Batu Ceper,”said the head of Rinjani national park Sudiyono, who goes by one name.
Sixteen people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the shallow 6.4-magnitude quake, which sent people running from their homes early in the morning yesterday.
The quake also dislodged tonnes of rock and mud on Mt. Rinjani, leaving people with no easy way down.
Rising some 3,726 metres (12,224 feet) above sea level, the peak is the second-tallest volcano in Indonesia and a favourite among sightseers keen to take in its expansive views.
Hiking trails on the mountain were closed following the quake due to fear of further landslides.
The epicentre of the earthquake was 50 km (30 miles) northeast of Lombok’s main city Mataram, the United States Geological Survey said, far from the main tourist spots on the south and west of the island.
The initial tremor was followed by two strong secondary quakes and more than 100 aftershocks.