A major volcanic eruption on Indonesia's most heavily populated island blasted clouds of ash and debris 12 miles into the air today, killing two people while forcing authorities to evacuate more than 100,000 and close six airports. The explosive overnight eruption of Java island's Mount Kelud, one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, could be heard up to 125 miles away, the country's disaster agency says. "The eruption sounded like thousands of bombs exploding," a local farmer says. "I thought doomsday was upon us. Women and children were screaming and crying."
Ash and grit fell to earth in towns and cities across the region, including Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city after Jakarta. A 60-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman were killed in a village near the mountain when the roofs of their homes collapsed under the weight of the ash and volcanic debris unleashed during the eruption. The disaster agency says tremors are still wracking the volcano, but that scientists didn't expect another major eruption. Kelud's last major eruption, in 1990, killed at least 30 people; a huge eruption in 1919 killed more than 5,000. (Read more Java stories.)