(TELEGRAPH) — A volcano in western Indonesia has erupted eight times in just a few hours, "raining down rocks" over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes, officials said Sunday.
Mount Sinabung has been erupting on and off since September, but went into overdrive late Saturday and early Sunday, repeatedly spewing out red-hot ash and rocks up to five miles into the air.
Several thousand people left their homes overnight, taking the total number of those who have fled since the volcano rumbled to life to around 12,300, said the national disaster agency.
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"People panicked last night as the eruption was accompanied by a loud thunderous sound and vibrations. Then it started raining down rocks," said local government official Robert Peranginangin.
"They ran helter-skelter out of their homes and cried for help."