Java volcano eruption kills Singapore schoolboy

Family holiday ends in tragedy as boy is struck by hot rocks.

A Singaporean schoolboy was killed yesterday after he was hit by a shower of hot rocks the size of footballs from Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java which is popular with tourists.

Muhammad Nur Hakim, who celebrated his 12th birthday just six days ago, was on holiday with his family in Mount Bromo, 700km east of Jakarta.

His father, Mr Azmi Ismail, told The Straits Times that his son was climbing the mountain with his elder brother Muhammad Hasanuddin when the volcano exploded.

Hasanuddin, who is 15, suffered burns and neck injuries. He was under observation in hospital last night together with seven others. Media reports said an Indonesian also died.

Mr Azmi said: ‘It is fate. I could not do anything to help my son. The force of the explosion was too strong.’

The blast sent a plume of smoke 3,000m into the air, officials said.

Many buildings in the two nearby towns were covered with a light coat of ash, according to an Associated Press report.

It said there was no evacuation order because the slopes of the 2,329m mountain are sparsely populated.

Mount Bromo’s eruption was one of two yesterday in Indonesia.

In North Sulawesi, in the far north-east of the country, at least 5,000 villagers were evacuated from the vicinity of Mount Awu after it spewed smoke and ash, according to a local government official.

Ash from Awu, which lies just south of the Philippines’ Mindanao Island, covered nearby beaches and villages.

Officials monitoring the mountain have warned a major eruption was possible in the coming days. In August 1966, the 1,320m volcano erupted, killing 40 people. Awu last erupted in October 1992.

Indonesia sits astride the geologically active Pacific ‘ring of fire’.

It has more than 100 active volcanoes, the most for any country in the world, and minor eruptions are common.

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