Nearby residents on Java had been warned for days that the mountain was building toward a violent eruption. But nearly 15,000 refused to leave their homes.
Local TV showed footage of burned houses and ash-covered bodies being placed in body bags.
Most of the fatalities occurred when pyroclastic flows of super-heated debris cascaded down Merapi’s slopes only eight minutes after the initial eruption.
A 2006 eruption of the 9,737-foot mountain killed only two people. Merapi is one of Indonesia’s most active and dangerous volcanoes.
It has produced more lava flows than perhaps any other volcano in the world.
Photo: Java Tourism