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Indonesia volcano erupts; 3 killed, 100,000 evacuated

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 14, 2014 at 8:51 a.m.

a-women-walks-on-a-road-covered-with-volcanic-ash-following-an-eruption-of-mount-kelud-in-yogyakarta-indonesia-on-friday-feb-14-2014-volcanic-ash-from-a-major-eruption-in-indonesia-shrouded-a-large-swath-of-the-countrys-most-densely-populated-island-on-friday-closed-three-international-airports-and-sent-thousands-fleeing

A women walks on a road covered with volcanic ash following an eruption of Mount Kelud, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Friday, Feb 14, 2014. Volcanic ash from a major eruption in Indonesia shrouded a large swath of the country's most densely populated island on Friday, closed three international airports and sent thousands fleeing.

SUGIHWARAS, Indonesia — A powerful volcanic eruption on Indonesia's most populous island blasted ash and debris 12 miles into the air Friday, killing three people and forcing authorities to evacuate more than 100,000 and close seven airports.

The eruption of Mount Kelud on Java island could be heard up to 125 miles away, Indonesia's disaster agency said.

"The eruption sounded like thousands of bombs exploding," Ratno Pramono, a 35-year-old farmer, said as he checked his property in the village of Sugihwaras, about 3 miles from the crater. "I thought doomsday was upon us. Women and children were screaming and crying."

Ash and grit fell to earth in towns and cities across the region, including Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city after Jakarta, with a population of about 3 million. It also fell farther afield in Yogyakarta, where motorists switched on headlights in daylight.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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