Indonesian rescuers on Tuesday used drones and sniffer dogs to search for survivors along the devastated west coast of Java hit by a series of tsunamis that killed at least 373 people, warning more victims are expected to be uncovered as the search expands.
Thick ash clouds continued to spew from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sending tsunamis smashing into coastal areas on both sides of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java.
At least 128 people remain missing. More than 1,400 people were injured, and thousands of residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday.
'But now we are reaching more remote areas...and in fact there are many victims there'
Rescuers used heavy machinery, sniffer dogs, and special cameras to detect and dig bodies out of mud and wreckage along a 100 km (60 mile) stretch of Java’s west coast and officials said the search area would be expanded further south.
“There are several locations that we previously thought were not affected,” said Yusuf Latif, spokesman for the national search and rescue agency.
“But now we are reaching more remote areas...and in fact there are many victims there,” he added.
The vast archipelago, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.
Earthquakes flattened parts of the island of Lombok in July and August, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed more than 2,000 people on a remote part of Sulawesi island in September.
“At least 373 people have died, while 128 people are currently missing,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said on Monday evening.
It took just 24 minutes after the landslide for waves to hit land, and there was no early warning for those living on the coast.