Two Europeans among six dead near Philippine volcano

7th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

A French tourist, another European and four Filipinos have drowned in floodwater near a volcano northwest of Manila; one still missing.

Manila – A French tourist, another European and four Filipinos drowned after they were caught in gushing floodwater near a volcano northwest of Manila, police said on Friday.

Another European is still missing after 12 French, Belgian and South Korean tourists were caught in heavy rain after scaling Mount Pinatubo on Thursday, said provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Rudy Lacadin.

Lacadin could not confirm if the other dead European was French or Belgian, nor was he able to give the nationality of the missing tourist.

However, six French nationals and three South Koreans were rescued by an air force helicopter.

French embassy consul Arnaut Rayar said he had spoken to the French survivors earlier in the day but "they were too shocked to go into details."

Rayar told AFP he had heard that one of the dead was a French national but could not confirm Philippine police reports to that effect.

The Belgian embassy declined to comment on the incident.

The foreigners and Filipinos were part of two groups that had hiked up the volcano, located about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of Manila, police said.

After they descended, they were caught by heavy rain that mixed with volcanic ash on the slopes to form deadly, fast-moving mudslides.

The 1,475-metre (4,850-foot) Mount Pinatubo erupted with devastating force in 1991, spewing a plume of ash 30 miles into the sky, killing more than 800 people.

Since then, it has become a popular attraction for mountaineers and hikers.

AFP / Expatica

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