Mount Semeru: 13 dead and dozens injured as 50,000ft ash cloud blacks out the sun

People fled for their lives after Indonesia’s tallest volcano began spewing humongous ash clouds on Saturday. According to volcano monitoring experts, the ash clouds are believed to have reached heights of up to 50,000ft with some witnesses reporting they blacked out the sun in places.

The volcano, situated in the Lumajang district of East Java began erupting around 5pm local time (10am UK time).

Lumajang district head Thoriqul Haq told TVOne: “Thick columns of ash have turned several villages to darkness.”

In a statement, health officials confirmed 13 people had been killed, only two of whom have been identified.

They added that nearly 100 people had been injured including two pregnant women.

A further 900 have been evacuated from the nearby area.

The nation’s transportation ministry urged all airlines to avoid routes near the volcano but confirmed flights were still operating.

The huge volcano stands at an impressive 12,060 ft and is one of Indonesia’s nearly 130 active volcanoes.

Dramatic footage of the eruption on Twitter, shows dozens of terrified locals fleeing in terror from the rising smoke.

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