JAKARTA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- More than 500 residents were evacuated after a volcano in central Indonesia erupted over the weekend, spewing hot ash and lava that killed five people, officials said Monday.
Mount Rokatenda, on Palue island in East Nusa Tenggara province, erupted at 04:27 a.m. local time Saturday, spewing ash up to 2,000 meters high and unleashing torrents of molten lava onto a beach, killing three adults and two children as they slept, Volcanology Agency head Surono said.
Three bodies have been found while the bodies of the two children have not been recovered.
Molten lava and ash have covered most of Palue, a tiny island with a radius of 4 km and a population of 12,000.
The 500 residents, who have been transferred by boat to a shelter on the neighboring island of Flores, had earlier refused to leave the 3-km exclusion zone around the crater.
Authorities had urged people to leave and banned all activities inside the area but many had refused to abandon their homes.
Officials still hope to evacuate the remaining 2,500 people in the 3-km zone as the volcano has the potential to erupt again.
More than 3,000 people had been evacuated from the danger zone after the volcano began erupting last October, but some of them returned to their homes, Surono said.
Mount Rokatenda is one of 129 active volcanos in Indonesia, a vast archipelago country sitting on a quake-prone zone popularly called "the Pacific Ring of Fire."