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11 hikers dead after Indonesia volcano erupts, dozen still missing

PADANG, Indonesia — Eleven hikers were found dead Monday and another 12 were missing after a volcano erupted in Indonesia, with rescuers racing to carry injured and burned survivors down the mountain on foot.

Rescuers worked through the night to find dozens of hikers stranded on Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra after it spewed an ash tower 3,000 metres (9,340 feet) -- taller than the volcano itself -- into the sky on Sunday.

The dead hikers were found near Marapi's crater after the 2,891-metre volcano rained ash on nearby villages, according to a local rescue official.

Twelve were missing, three more were found alive and 49 had safely descended from the crater, some with burns and fractures, the official said.

"They are being carried down manually, rescuers are taking turns bringing them down. We can't do an air search with a helicopter because the eruption is ongoing," said local rescue agency chief Abdul Malik, who added about 120 rescuers were involved in the search.

The three other people who had been found alive were yet to be taken down the mountain, along with the 11 dead.

Those three survivors were found near the crater and "their condition was weak, and some had burns," Malik said.

A clip shared with AFP showed a rescue worker with a flashlight strapped to his head piggybacking a hiker, who moans in pain and says "God is greatest" as she is led to safety in the darkness of night.

Zhafirah Zahrim Febrina, one of the rescued hikers, is shown in a video message from the volcano desperately appealing to her mother for help.

The 19-year-old student appeared shocked, her face burnt and her hair matted with thick grey ash.

"Mom, help Ife. This is Ife's situation right now," she said, referring to her nickname.

She is now in a nearby hospital with her father and uncle after being trapped on the mountain on a hiking trip with 18 school friends.

"She is going through a tremendous trauma," said her mother Rani Radelani, 39. 

"She is affected psychologically because she saw her burns, and she also had to endure the pain all night."

Local rescue agency spokesperson Jodi Haryawan said the rescue efforts had been broken up by sporadic eruptions but the search was