One of the Philippines’ most active volcanoes rumbled to life Tuesday, spewing room-sized rocks toward nearly 30 surprised climbers, killing five and injuring others that had to be fetched with rescue helicopters and rope.
The climbers and their Filipino guides had spent the night camping in two groups before setting out at daybreak for the crater of Mayon volcano when the sudden explosion of rocks, ash and plumes of smokes jolted the picturesque mountain, guide Kenneth Jesalva told ABS-CBN TV network by cellphone.
He said rocks “as big as a living room” came raining down, killing and injuring members of his group, some of whom were in critical condition. Jesalva said he rushed back to the base camp at 914 metres to call for help.
Among the dead were three Germans and their Filipino guide, said Albay provincial Gov. Joey Salceda. He said everyone on the mountain had been accounted for at midday, except for a foreigner who was presumed dead.
Eight people were injured, and Salceda said the others were in the process of being brought down the mountain. Ash clouds have cleared over the volcano, which was quiet later in the morning.