MANILA — At least five people, including three Germans, died, while eight other foreign tourists and local residents were injured after the Mayon Volcano in Albay spewed ash as high as 500 meters last May 6.
But the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said there was no cause for alarm as it was just a normal “phreatic eruption.”
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said there was no need so far to raise Mayon’s alert level.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the casualties were among local and foreign tourists who joined a hiking expedition at Mayon last May 6.
“Rescue teams were immediately sent to account for both the reported fatalities and the injured victims. As of latest report, there are five dead,” Salceda said.
As of May 7, four of the fatalities had been retrieved and were immediately taken to the nearby funeral parlors, said Supt. Renato Bataller, spokesman of the Bicol police.
He said three of the fatalities were confirmed to be German persons, but their identities have yet to be established.
The other fatality was identified as Jerome Berin, a tour guide from Malilipot town.
He said five other foreigners were injured. They were identified as Thais Udome Kiat, Utan Ruchi, a certain Boonchi, a certain Benjama, and Australian Straw Vega.
Bataller said the information they received was that all the casualties were hit by rocks and boulders which cascaded down the slope of the volcano following what volcano experts called “phreatic explosion” during which steam and ashes were ejected out of the Mayon crater at about 8 a.m. on May 6. (Manila Bulletin)