March 12, 2007 / 9:30 AM / 13 years ago

Seven Indonesian climbers die on Lombok volcano

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian rescuers have found the bodies of seven students who died in bad weather while hiking on a volcano on Lombok island, an official said on Monday.

The seven had climbed Mount Rinjani despite a hiking ban since January because of storms and thick fog, said Arief Toengkagie, head of the Mount Rinjani National Park.

Toengkagie said the men, all students from a local university, died of exposure and hunger. Their bodies were found on Sunday and the men are thought to have died about five days ago.

“They had cooking utensils but ran out of food. It’s very cold, stormy and foggy here,” he told Reuters. Lombok is the next island east of Bali and is popular with foreign tourists.

He said the victims seemed to have been returning from the peak when they died and were found in the mid-section of the 3,726 meter (12,224 foot) volcano fairly close together.

The official said the students lived in university accommodation and had not informed relatives of their climb plans. Friends of the students eventually raised the alarm.

Mount Rinjani is one of Indonesia’s highest peaks and it takes about eight hours to reach the top in normal weather.

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