Eight people have died in Indonesia when their rescue helicopter crashed on its way to help locals injured by an erupting volcano in Java, Indonesian officials have confirmed.
The helicopter was just three minutes away from reaching the erupting Sileri Crater at Dieng Plateau when it hit a cliff on Butak Mountain, killing all on board, according to Associated Press.
The volcano injured ten locals when it went off without warning on Sunday morning.
Seventeen people had been around the base of the crater when it started sending cold lava, mud and ash spewing up to 50 metres into the air.
The director of operations and training at the National Search and Rescue Agency, Brigadier General Ivan Tito, told local station TVOne that four of the dead were navy officers and four were rescuers.
He also said the Indonesian-made Dauphin AS365 helicopter was airworthy.
Everyone has now been safely evacuated from the area, and the Dieng Plateau remains closed to the public.
The bodies of the eight victims were taken to the nearby Bhayangkara Hospital in the central Java city of Semarang.
Dieng Plateau is famous for its stunning scenery and ancient Hindu temples, but its also the site of several active volcanos.
Sileri Crater is the most active of the ten craters. It last erupted in September 2009, ejecting mud in a 140-metre radius.
Around 142 people were reportedly asphyxiated in 1979 when the volcano released noxious gases into the air.
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