Indonesia Volcano Death Toll Doubles
Searing gas cloud kills dozens in 'safe zone'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2010 5:08 AM CDT
Rescuers search for victims in Argomulyo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Trisnadi)
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(Newser) – Blistering gas from Indonesia's most volatile volcano spewed farther than expected today, incinerating houses at the edge of the danger zone, triggering chaotic evacuations and pushing the death toll above 100. Soldiers joined overnight rescue operations in a village 9 miles from the crater of Mount Merapi, pulling at least 58 corpses from smoldering homes and streets blanketed by ash up to one foot deep.

Dozens of injured people—with clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin by the 1,400 degree Fahrenheit gas clouds—were carried away on stretchers to overwhelmed hospitals. The village, home to some 80 families, had been considered to be within the safety zone, despite signs that the notoriously unpredictable mountain could be ready to blow. Many of the villagers appear to have been killed by the searing gas as they tried to flee.
 

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