Hundreds stranded on Indonesian mountain after earthquake

Soldiers and rescue teams prepare to evacuate tourists from Mount Rinjani in Indonesia (AP)

Rescuers are trying to evacuate hundreds of tourists stranded on Mount Rinjani on the Indonesian island of Lombok after a deadly earthquake triggered landslides.

A team of about 165 rescuers is expected to reach a crater lake where the foreign and Indonesian trekkers are trapped by late afternoon, said Mount Rinjani National Park chief Sudiyono.

“Providing food and medicine to them as soon as possible is now our priority,” said Sudiyono.

The landslides on Rinjani killed an Indonesian student, raising the death toll from the magnitude 6.4 earthquake to 16.

The shallow quake early on Sunday damaged more than 1,400 houses and was felt on neighbouring Bali, where no damage or casualties were reported.

Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency has recorded more than 270 aftershocks.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said more than 680 people are stranded on Rinjani based on figures from its entry gates where visitors are registered.

Villagers clear debris caused by an earthquake in Sajang village, Sembalun, East Lombok, Indonesia Credit: AP

Most are foreign – from 26 countries, including more than 330 from Thailand.

Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains.

Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean.

In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.