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

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

Dozens of aftershocks rippled through the area leading to falling debris and toppled concrete, which the country's disaster agency said caused most of the fatalities.

At least 16 people were killed in the quake across affected areas of Lombok, while hundreds of buildings were destroyed including a health clinic.

Helicopters and search teams have been deployed to scour the slopes of Mount Rinjani, which is crisscrossed with hiking routes popular with tourists, while rescuers have made airdrops of food supplies to those stranded.

President Joko Widodo is due to visit the island on Monday morning, his spokesman said.

Thai diplomats based in Jakarta have coordinated with Indonesian officials to pick up the 174 Thai mountaineers who had already come down from the national park.

He said Malaysian embassy officials would arrive in Lombok tomorrow to assist in the process and also to help other Malaysians stranded by the natural disaster.

"The focus now is evacuation and rescue".

Indonesia's geophysics and meteorology agency said at least 11 aftershocks were recorded after the natural disaster.

As many as 820 people - a lot of them foreigners - were on Mount Rinjani when the quake struck, making two trails impassable, Sutopo said on Twitter late on Sunday.

A 6.4 magnitude is strong enough to cause injuries and damage to buildings, but largely depends on how densely populated the affected area is.

Location of Mount Rinjani
Mount Rinjani is located in the north of Lombok

The Lombok quake, which struck at 6:47 a.m. (8:47 p.m. ET Saturday), was only 4.35 miles deep, a shallow depth that would have amplified its effect.

Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains.

Located east of Bali and west of Sumbawa, Lombok is part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain.

The shallowness of the natural disaster added to the damage it caused, with officials reporting 280 aftershocks.

"Rinjani mountain climbing is closed temporarily because there are indication of landslide around the mountain", Mr Nugroho said in a statement.

The United States Geological Survey said the natural disaster struck at 6:47 am local time (22:47 UTC Saturday) at a depth of seven kilometers (four miles).

At least 14 people have died, and more than 160 were injured in the quake.

The country sits on the deadly "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and earthquake-prone fault lines circling the Pacific Ocean.

However, the region remains acutely alert to tremors that might trigger tsunamis.




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