Military helicopters have begun bringing down the victims of Mt. Kanlaon's Saturday eruption. Ten of the climbers were brought down Saturday night and seven others, along with the three dead, were airlifted from Kanlaon's crater rim down to Bacolod yesterday.
Rescuers said Filipinos Noel Tragico and Neil Perez and Briton Julian Green were killed while 17 others - including 10 Belgians, another Briton and six Filipinos - were among those airlifted from the volcano. Rescuers said injured among the 17 were Belgians Frederick Carraso, Philipp Couche, Caroline La Grange, Sophie La Benne, Darmien Gaitan, David Ryckaert, Florence De Corte, Jean Francois Ossengeld, Caroline Verlinde and Delthme Ferrant, Briton Gordon Cole and Filipinos Pepito Ibrado, Wovi Villanueva and Albert Devarras.
Three people died when Mt. Kanlaon erupted without warning, trapping some 24 mountain climbers near its crater, it was reported yesterday.
The volcano, located here in Negros Occidental, spewed ash 1.5 kms. into the air on Aug. 10, more than three years after its last eruption in 1993, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
The explosion caught by surprise some 24 people on the mountain, including 10 Belgians and two Britons on a climbing expedition, who were trapped near the summit of the 2,435-m volcano, said Jomari Vargas, aide of Negros Occ. Gov. Rafael Coscolluela.
British student Julian Green, 20, and two other Filipino students were killed when they were hit by molten rocks expelled from the volcano's crater which also seriously injured six others, including four Belgians.
Twenty-one people were rescued early Aug. 11 by air force helicopters which flew to a clearing near the summit to airlift the trapped climbers, Vargas said. "We could not speak to them now as most were weak and still in a state of shock when the choppers came by to rescue them," Vargas added. Most of the injured were treated for serious burns, he said.
Belgian student Caroline Verlinda, 21, said she and the rest of her group were about to leave a site near the crater rim when the eruption began. "Suddenly it ejected ash and stones. I ran to a tree for cover and saw my friends being hit by falling stones," she told reporters.
Verlinda was on an expedition to scale the volcano with a group of 16 climbers, including nine other Belgians from the University of Notre Dame de la Paix in Namours. She said their Filipino guide told them the smoke billowing out from the crater "was just ordinary."
Kanlaon, one of the country's 21 most active volcanoes, is a favorite spot for mountain climbers in the Philippines. But the eruption on Aug. 10 has forced local officials to suspend climbing expeditions, Vargas said.
The Filipino Guardian