MATARAM: More than 500 hikers and guides stranded by landslides on an Indonesian mountain after an earthquake have returned to safety, with some recalling their terror when tonnes of rock cascaded down, reports AFP.
The shallow 6.4-magnitude quake, which struck early Sunday on Lombok island and was followed by scores of aftershocks, triggered major landslides on Mount Rinjani, blocking the hiking routes that criss-cross it.Some 800 trekkers and their guides were on the mountain when the quake struck including citizens from the United States, France, the Netherlands, Thailand, Germany and many other countries, according to search and rescue officials.
Hundreds managed to find a way down on Sunday and over 500 more reached safety Monday night. While most were able to pick their way down the mountain on foot, at least three arrived at Sembalun village on the lower slopes by helicopter, according to officials.
Some returned with harrowing tales of being caught out by the quake, which killed 16 people across the holiday island including one on the mountain.
One Thai tourist, who reached the foot of the mountain Tuesday morning, felt the ground shake beneath her sleeping bag.