Volcanic fumes kill six Indonesian teenagers

JAKARTA Mon Jul 9, 2007 6:04am BST

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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Poisonous sulphur fumes from an Indonesian volcano just outside the capital killed six school children on a camping trip on the mountain, police said on Monday.

Indonesia has the world's highest number of active volcanoes, and hiking and camping on volcanoes are popular pastimes. The forested Salak mountain one hour south of the capital is a favourite of young Jakartans.

The six teenagers were part a group of 20 high school students from Jakarta on a camping trip who climbed to the rim of the crater, which is normally out of bounds for hikers, police officer Thomas Alexander said.

One of the students was found dead with foam on his mouth, a strong indicator of sulphur poisoning, Alexander said.

"The teens were playing around the fume-filled crater and inhaled the poisonous fumes," Alexander told Reuters.

Some of the other students were unconscious but were immediately brought from the 2,180-metre (7,152 feet) peak to the nearest hospital.

Sabar Jaya, a hospital official in the nearby city of Bogor, said no autopsy was performed as families decided to take the bodies home right after they arrived in the hospital.

"We checked the corpses, there were no bruises or wounds. We believe the teens were poisoned by the crater's sulphur fumes," Jaya said.

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