Copter crash kills 8 af­ter In­done­sia vol­cano erupts

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A res­cue he­li­copter crashed while head­ing to help evac­u­ate res­i­dents near an ac­tive vol­cano on In­done­sia’s main is­land, killing all eight peo­ple on board, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day. The he­li­copter crashed about three min­utes be­fore ar­riv­ing at Dieng Plateau, the pop­u­lar tourist area where the vol­canic erup­tion Sun­day in­jured at least 10 peo­ple. The air­craft re­port­edly hit a cliff on Bu­tak Moun­tain in the Te­mang­gung district of Cen­tral Java prov­ince.

All eight peo­ple on board were killed, said Maj Gen Heron­imus Guru, deputy oper­a­tions chief of the Na­tional Search and Res­cue Agency. He told The As­so­ci­ated Press, “We are now at the Bhayangkara Hospi­tal in Se­marang,” the Cen­tral Java pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal where the vic­tims’ bod­ies were taken. Brig Gen Ivan Tito, direc­tor of op­er­a­tion and train­ing at the search agency, told TVOne sta­tion in a live in­ter­view from Te­mang­gung, that the vic­tims were four navy of­fi­cers and four res­cuers. He also said the In­done­sian-made Dauphin AS365 he­li­copter was air­wor­thy.

The Si­leri Crater at Dieng Plateau spewed cold lava, mud and ash as high as 50 me­ters into the sky when it erupted Sun­day morn­ing, said Na­tional Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Agency spokesman Su­topo Purwo Nu­groho. The sud­den erup­tion oc­curred while about 17 vis­i­tors were around the crater. Ten peo­ple were in­jured and were treated at a hospi­tal. Sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers were dis­patched and lo­cal res­i­dents and vis­i­tors were asked to evac­u­ate in case of fur­ther erup­tions, Nu­groho said.

Si­leri is the most ac­tive and dan­ger­ous among some 10 craters at Dieng Plateau. Its most re­cent erup­tion was in 2009, when it un­leashed vol­canic ma­te­ri­als up to 200 me­ters high and trig­gered the cre­ation of three new craters. Dwi Suryanto, head of cul­ture and tourism in the Si­leri area, said the crater was quiet yes­ter­day but re­mains closed to vis­i­tors. Other craters on the plateau are still open, he said. Dieng Plateau, lo­cated in the Cen­tral Java district of Ban­jarne­gara, is a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion be­cause of its cool cli­mate and ninth-cen­tury Hindu tem­ples. It sits about 2,000 me­ters (6,600 feet) above sea level. Some 142 peo­ple were re­port­edly as­phyx­i­ated in 1979 when the vol­cano spewed gases. — AP

DIENG: Smoke bil­lows from Si­leri Crater af­ter it erupted in Dieng, Cen­tral Java, In­done­sia on Sun­day, July 2, 2017. A he­li­copter car­ry­ing eight peo­ple crashed while on the way to help with evac­u­a­tions near a vol­cano that erupted on the main In­done­sian is­land of Java. — AP

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