Indonesian Volcano Shoots Out Searing Gas Clouds

Indonesia – Local television is reporting that an eruption at Indonesia's deadly volcano has sent searing clouds of ash cascading down the mountain, setting several houses ablaze in a slope-side village.

A rescue worker told TVOne at least one man was killed and footage showed more than a dozen injured being carried into a hospital on stretchers early Friday.

It was not immediately clear why the village — 6 miles (8 kilometers) from the crater and well inside the ""danger-zone"" — had not been evacuated.

Witnesses told the station more victims were waiting for help.

Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has claimed at least 44 lives since bursting back to life on Oct. 26. More than 100 others have been injured.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) — Eruptions at Indonesia's deadly volcano appeared to be intensifying Thursday as towering clouds of ash shot from the crater with a thunder-like roar, dusting towns up to 150 miles (250 kilometers) away and forcing motorists to switch on their headlights during the day.

The death toll climbed to 44 — with six more casualties recorded in the last 24 hours — and the government repeated orders to airlines to stay clear of the unpredictable mountain.

Mount Merapi, which means ""Fire Mountain,"" is one of the world's most active volcanoes.

But even those who have dedicated a lifetime to studying it have been baffled by its erratic behavior since its first Oct. 26 eruption, which has been followed by more than a dozen other powerful blasts and thousands of volcanic tremors.

They'd earlier hoped that would result in a long, slow release of energy."