KARO, Indonesia - Indonesian officials searched through thick ash for bodies yesterday, a day after Mount Sinabung erupted. The only sign of life was an ownerless mobile phone ringing inside an abandoned bag.
At least 15 people have died.
Fourteen people - mainly local tourists, including four high-school students on a sightseeing trip - were killed on Saturday by lethal heat clouds that cascaded down the volcano in Sumatra.
A 24-year-old man died from his injuries yesterday.
About 170 people, including those from the military and police, armed with chainsaws and oxygen apparatus, spread out through apocalyptic-like destruction in Sukameriah village, officials said.
Sukameriah, just 2.7km from Sinabung's crater, is located in the "red zone" around the volcano, where human activities are strictly banned, disaster official Tri Budiarto said. Residents had been evacuated.
"It's very dangerous and completely out of bounds. But many tourists still went to the area secretly to take photographs," he added.
The first team to enter the village yesterday morning emerged 15 minutes later empty-handed.
Mount Sinabung spew ash as seen from Tiga Pancur village in Karo
People wear masks with Mount Sinabung spewing ash in the background at Tiga Pancur village in Karo
A mother holds her daughter they walk under roofs covered with ash from Mount Sinabung at Brastagi in Karo
A man walks as Mount Sinabung spews ash into the air at Simpang Empat village in Karo
This picture taken in Medan on November 23 shows ash falling in the city of Medan following Sinabung volcano spewing volcanic ash. Sinabung volcano in western Indonesia has erupted eight times in just a few hours, "raining down rocks" over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes, officials said on November 24
Birds fly as Sinabung volcano spews volcanic ash into the air in Karo on November 24, 2013.
This picture taken in Karo on November 19, 2013 shows Sinabung volcano spewing volcanic ash and hot smoke in Karo.
Villagers watch as Mount Sinabung spews ash at Sibintun village in Karo district
Lightning flashes as Mount Sinabung spews ash in a view from Tiga Pancur village in Karo district
Mount Sinabung spews ash in a view from Tiga Pancur village in Karo district
The Sinabung volcano spews volcanic ash in Karo, North Sumatra on November 20, 2013.
Mount Sinabung spews ash at Tiga Pancur village in Karo district
Farmers ride their motorcycle along a road one day after Mount Sinabung erupted in Karo, northern Sumatra island on November 19, 2013.
Man walks on road near ash-covered roof in empty village after all villagers were evacuated after Mount Sinabung spewed ash at Mardingding village in Karo district
Dog sits in the middle of a road in an empty village after all villagers were evacuated a day after Mount Sinabung spewed ash at Mardingding village in Karo district
A paramedic hands out masks to villagers after Mount Sinabung erupted early morning in Karo district, in Indonesia's north Sumatra province on Sept 15, 2013.
Villagers wait to be evacuated to safety as Mount Sinabung spews ash and hot lava during its eruption.
Around 1,000 people from six villages were evacuated from their homes to a safety area.
A worker sprays pesticide on his crops while Mount Sinabung spews ash in the background.
Cars and streets were covered in ash after Mount Sinabung erupted.
Waves of people continued to flock to several houses of worship.
Some were evacuated by local authorities in military and police trucks, while the remainder fled on their own initiative.
Indonesian farmers rush to harvest crops in the district of Karo as an ash cloud rises during a fresh eruption of Mount Sinabung on Sept 17, 2013.
Residents leave Karo district as an ash cloud rises during a fresh eruption of Mount Sinabung on Sept 17.
Villagers covered in ash sit in a truck while waiting to be evacuated to safety.
Police evacuate residents of Karo district on Sept 17.
A mother holds her child as Mount Sinabung spews ash and hot lava during an eruption in Perteguhan Village in Karo district on Sept 17.