Hunt for bodies near volcano

Hunt for bodies near volcano
Indonesian rescuers walk past abandoned motorcycles as they search for victims in the ash covered two-kilometer danger zone from the crater of Mount Sinabung volcano in Karo district.

KARO, Indonesia - Indonesian officials searched through thick ash for bodies yesterday, a day after Mount Sinabung erupted. The only sign of life was an ownerless mobile phone ringing inside an abandoned bag.

At least 15 people have died.

Fourteen people - mainly local tourists, including four high-school students on a sightseeing trip - were killed on Saturday by lethal heat clouds that cascaded down the volcano in Sumatra.

A 24-year-old man died from his injuries yesterday.

About 170 people, including those from the military and police, armed with chainsaws and oxygen apparatus, spread out through apocalyptic-like destruction in Sukameriah village, officials said.

Sukameriah, just 2.7km from Sinabung's crater, is located in the "red zone" around the volcano, where human activities are strictly banned, disaster official Tri Budiarto said. Residents had been evacuated.

"It's very dangerous and completely out of bounds. But many tourists still went to the area secretly to take photographs," he added.

The first team to enter the village yesterday morning emerged 15 minutes later empty-handed.

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