More than 500 hikers stranded on mountain after Indonesia quake, 16 killed

PHOTO: Nupa Wan's Facebook

LOMBOK, Indonesia - 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 Monday.

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.

According to a report in The Nation, about 80 per cent of some 500 people stranded were Thais. 

A hiker left stranded by the quake, Nupa Wan, posted a Facebook message seeking help. She posted some photos of the group that was stranded on Rinjani, which is an active volcano.

Her photos also showed rocks and mud falling from the mountain following the aftershocks.

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 of Sunday.

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.

Powerful quake strikes Indonesian tourist island of Lombok

  • A powerful earthquake on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok killed at least 16 people, injured dozens and damaged hundreds of homes on Sunday, officials said.
  • The quake sent villagers fleeing from their beds into open fields to avoid collapsing buildings.
  • Electicity was cut off in the worst-hit area, Sembalun, a sparsely populated area of rice paddies and the slopes of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of the island.
  • A 30-year-old Malaysian woman visiting Mount Rinjani, a popular trekking destination, was among those killed, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesman.
  • Video footage showed ambulances lining the streets of Lombok and many houses damaged with only parts of brick walls standing.
  • The Lombok quake struck at 6:47 a.m. (2247 GMT on Saturday) and was only 4.35 miles deep (7 km), a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect.
  • Nearly 80 subsequent tremors were recorded, with the largest aftershock recorded at 5.7 magnitude, Indonesia’s Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency said.
  • The earthquake was on land and did not trigger any waves or tsunami.