Volunteers and search and rescue officials have rescued two foreign tourists who had got lost during their hike from the rumbling Mount Agung in Bali’s Karangasem regency amid increasing volcanic activity.
The tourists, a Dutch national identified only as Frank, 22, and his Norwegian friend Georgee, 21, had lost their way on the slope of the volcano on their way back. The team found them on Friday evening around 1.5 kilometers from the volcano’s crater.
“When found, they were in a weak condition and running out of food,” Karangasem Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Ida Bagus Ketut Arimbawa told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
The two were found following information from local residents who had reported hearing people calling for help and giving lighting signals. Residents and a search and rescue team then set out to look for them.
“They were taken to the nearest police station to be questioned and reprimanded that hiking the mountain is prohibited,” Arimbawa said.
He did not elaborate on when the tourists had started their hike to the volcano, which is currently closed for hiking because of volcanic activity. However, there are many access routes to Mt. Agung from various areas in Karangasem.
“Signs have been installed on many hiking tracks. Anyone seeing them when entering [knows that it is] prohibited to continue the hike. But we cannot watch all access routes to the mountain,” Arimbawa added.
Bali authorities have prohibited any hiking activity since Mt. Agung showed heightened volcanic activity in 2017. The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has warned people to stay outside the danger zone within 4 km from the crater.
Mt. Agung has repeatedly erupted since 2017. The most recent eruption took place on Thursday evening with a column of ash into the sky. Although it was not visible from the volcano’s observatory, residents living in other parts of Karangasem witnessed the spewing of ash. On March 17, Mt. Agung erupted twice within a day, spewing ash between 500 and 600 meters high. The eruption followed another eruption on March 15, when the volcano spewed volcanic ash up to 1,000 m high. (rin)
The story has been published at The Jakarta Post on March 30, 2019