A crashed rescue helicopter will help evacuate residents near an erupting volcano in Java, Indonesia’s main island, killing eight people on board, authorities said Monday.
The helicopter would hit a cliff of about three minutes to reach the plateau of Dieng, a popular tourist area, where a volcanic crater erupted Sunday, injuring at least 10 people.
The Dauphin AS365 helicopter manufactured in Indonesia crashed into Butak mountain Candiroto sub-district in the Temanggung district of Central Java province.
Ivan Tito, operations and training manager at the National Agency Search and Rescue, said the bodies of all the victims were taken to the Bhayangkara police hospital in the capital of Semarang, central Java.
“The helicopter was in flight condition,” Tito told TVOne during a live interview on Monday from Temanggung, the nearest city to the crash site.
“There were four crew members, all the naval officers and four rescue crews aboard the helicopter.”
The Silien crater Dieng Plateau threw cold lava, mud and ashes up to 50 meters into the sky when it erupted Sunday morning, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
The sudden eruption occurred as about 17 visitors were around the crater. Ten people were injured and treated in a hospital.
Soldiers and police were sent to the scene, while local residents and visitors were asked to evacuate the area in case of outbreaks, Nugroho said.
Sileri is the most active and most dangerous among the 10 craters of the Dieng Plateau. Its last eruption was in 2009 when volcanic material was unleashed up to 200 meters high and has led to the creation of three new craters.
Dieng Plateau, located in the central Java district of Banjarnegara, is a popular tourist attraction due to its cool climate and 9th century Hindu temples. It is about 2,000 meters above sea level.
Some 142 people were suffocated in 1979 when the volcano erupted, emitting gases.