JAKARTA July 30 (JDN.id) – Hundreds of climbers and tourists are still trapped on Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani and its slope in Lombok, East Nusa Tenggara on Monday following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Sunday morning that caused landslides and blocked some routes.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said there were 829 climbers, including foreigners from 26 nationalities, stranded on the mountain as of Sunday, many of them managed to reach the nearby safe area close to midnight.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of BNPB said that it is likely the number of climbers is more than what has been registered as there might be unregistered porters, guides, and guests.
“There were 680 people, 354 foreigners and 222 Indonesians climbed down the mountain by 11.30 p.m. local time (Sunday), so it is expected that 149 individuals are still in the mountain,” BNPB statement stated on Monday.
Apart from climbers, there are 540 tourists, 135 foreigners and 405 Indonesians trapped at KM10 of Sembalum route and Batu Ceper area, both at the slopes of the mountain. According to BNPB data, a total of 689 people need to be evacuated up to now.
“When the earthquake hit (almost at 7 a.m. local time), landslides occurred and rocks were falling from the upper slope. Climbers felt strong shakes and became panicked. They are trapped at Rinjani because the climbing routes are dangerous,” BNPB statement said.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of BNPB said, rescuers are now trying to find a way to reach climbers who are still stranded as landslide has cut the escape ways from Senaru and Torean exits.
The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck early on Sunday not far from the base of the mountain.
At least 16 people have died, including a Malaysian national and an Indonesian climber, and more than 350 people were injured.
More than 200 aftershocks followed the main earthquake. More than 2,500 residents affected by the earthquake must take shelters as they fled their damaged houses.
Search and rescue teams have been combing the mountainside to locate the stranded climbers.