Friday, July 15, 2011

'Glowing lava flowed like flames and it sounded like we were in a war': Race to escape volcano as thousands flee mighty Indonesia eruption


Eruption: Indonesian volcano Mount Lokon triggered forest fires after it spewed out hot gas and lava

Thousands of panicked Indonesians were forced to flee their homes after the volcano they lived near erupted.

Mount Lokon spit lava and smoke high into the sky - sending residents racing down its fiery slopes.

Glowing lava cascaded from the mouth of the crater, triggering forest fires along its slopes, while one woman died of a heart attack as she fled.

Glowing: Residents living near Mount Lokon were forced to evacuate the region following the eruption

Nelson Uada, among those evacuated overnight, said: 'This is the largest eruption I've ever experienced.

'It was very scary. Glowing lava flowed like flames in the darkness and it sounded like we were in a war.'

Mount Lokon, in central Indonesia's northern Sulawesi province, unleashed its first powerful eruption at 10.46pm on Thursday.

Eruption: The residents of this house in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, could also be evacuated

Brian Rulrone, a disaster management agency official, said it was followed by a second blast just after midnight and a third at 1.10am on Friday morning.

Ferry Rusmawan, an official at the nearest monitoring post, added that activity remained high and another eruption appeared imminent as the 5,741ft mountain continued to rumble.

Soldiers and police helped rescuers evacuate residents living along the mountain's fertile slopes.

Jimmy Eman, the acting mayor of the nearby town of Tomohon, said the only victim so far was a 56-year-old woman who died of a heart attack as she fled.

He revealed that more than 6,000 people were crammed into schools, churches and other temporary shelters.

A total of 27,000 other people living within two miles of the crater also would be moved.

Flights to the nearest international airport in Manado, the provincial capital, were not disrupted, said spokesman Lucky Podaag.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 240 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanoes because it sits along the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' - a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

Raw Video: Volcano Erupts in Central Indonesia

source: dailymail

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