MANILA, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Five people were killed while seven were wounded from falling rocks after Mayon Volcano spewed ash Tuesday, around 8 a.m. local time, Philippine officials said.
The casualties were part of a group of mountaineers who climbed Mayon Volcano, one of the country's most famous tourist attractions and located in the province of Albay, about kilometers southeast of the Philippine capital.
Government rescuers are now heading to the foot of the Mayon Volcano to rescue the mountaineers and recover the cadaver.
The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office said it is yet to identify the casualties and their nationalities as emergency response teams were dispatched in the area.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the phreatic event of the volcano which occurred at around 8:00 a.m. lasted for about 73 seconds and the gray to brown clouds that the volcano produced reached 500 meters above the summit and drifted west southwest.
"No volcanic earthquake was detected within the past 24-hour observation period. Seismic and gas emission parameters remain within background levels and indicate no intensification of volcanic activity," Phivolcs said.
With such observations, the state agency said that it is maintaining an Alert Level 0 status, which means that no eruption is imminent.
However, small phreatic explosions including small steam and ash ejections may occur suddenly with little or no warning, it added.
Phivolcs strongly advised that the public refrain from entering the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone due to the threat of sudden steam-driven eruptions and rock falls from the upper and middle slopes of the volcano.
The Mayon Volcano is one of the country's most active volcanoes. In 2010, the volcano rumbled and spewed ash, displacing thousands of residents.