(Photo: Reuters/Dwi Oblo)
A massive volcano eruption Friday morning at Java island's Mount Kelud left at least three people dead and forced over 100,000 to flee the area, as the area was blanketed with ash and debris.
"The eruption sounded like thousands of bombs exploding," said 35-year-old farmer Ratno Pramono, according to The Associated Press. "I thought doomsday was upon us. Women and children were screaming and crying."
Disaster agencies said that the eruption on the country's most populous island could be heard 125 miles away, and spread debris 12 miles into the air, laying ash two inches deep in some places in the surrounding region.
Two of the confirmed deaths so far are of a 60-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman in the Pandansari village near the mountain, whose homes collapsed under the weight of the debris. BBC News reported that three people in total have been killed in the incident so far, while tens of thousands of those fleeing are seeking temporary shelters.
Officials reportedly managed to raise the alert only an hour before Mount Kelud erupted. They urged the residents in 35 villages in the region to evacuate.
"The whole place was shaking – it was like we were on a ship in high seas," one resident told AFP news agency.
"We fled and could see lava in the distance flowing into a river.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said 200,000 people in total have been affected by the volcano, according to Reuters.
Indonesia has over 130 active volcanoes, and earlier in February, 14 people were killed after Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra erupted.
BBC noted that Mount Kelud last exploded in 1990, causing dozens of death. In 1919, another eruption killed close to 5,000 people.