By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY, May 7, 2013 (BicolToday.com) – Five German tourists and a local guide were reportedly killed while eight other mountain climbers were injured following the unpredicted phreatic eruption of Mayon Volcano, that occurred at 8 o’ clock AM today prompting the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and
Mitigation Office (PDRRMO) to conduct search and retrieval operations.
Phivolcs Director Rene Solidum who touched base with Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda said at least 500 meters in height reached by the ash explosion but unpredicted since it was a stream-driven eruption termed it as “phreatic” where jeep-sized boulders were seen rolling down the slopes that probably killed five German nationals and a local tour guide.
Identified killed on the spot as a result of the falling volcanic debris were identified as Joan Enduza; Rolland Duza; Farah Franes and Fibian Stillfer, including their local tour guide named Jerome Berin who were all at the Camp 2 of the volcano located 3,000 feet above sea level elevation from Malilipot town when the explosion happened, PDRRMO said.
PDRRMO Executive Officer Cedric Daep said there were three foreign climbers injured identified as Nitti Ruangpisit, 26; Tanut Ruchipiyrah, 26 both Thai nationals and another German named as Sabine Strohberger, 32 who suffered abrasions and bruises but declared safe, while another local guide, Kenneth Jesalva, who suffered slight bruises were included in other five injured whose names were not available immediately.
As a result of the unpredicted ash explosion, Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda has ordered forced evacuation of residents of the affected areas including the suspension of human activities like farming, orchids gathering, mountain trek; ATV travel beyond lava front immediately until after the areas are cleared safe.
According to Salceda he dispatched 72 personnel of the PDRRMO to conduct search, rescue and retrieval with air support of two Huey Helicopters from the Office of the Civil Defense to insure that those within the affected areas of explosion be rescued and evacuated before the night fall.
He said the Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health were advised to monitor the ash fall condition in the third district of the province where the wind direction was charted by the local weather bureau and emergency supplies be made available during the operations. [BicolToday.com]