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Searches halted in Indonesia after Mount Sinabung eruptions kill 15

Search and recovery teams have again halted their perilous task of looking for victims from the recent volcanic eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Sinabung, disaster officials said, reports CNN.

The death toll currently stands at 15 after plumes of ash spewed more than a mile into the sky Saturday and descended in superheated clouds.

Scalding ash up to 700 degrees in temperature raced down the slope in just two to three minutes, engulfing Sukameriah, a village close to the volcano's crater.

A funnel of smoke, visible from kilometers away, has continued to shoot up from the North Sumatra mountain, turning the sky above the color of murky gray ash.

Recovery teams - a mixture of local rescue workers, military personnel and police - ventured into the affected area Sunday and Monday, before calling off their search because conditions became unsafe.

The teams were conducting search operations within a 3-kilometer radius of the volcano, Taufik Kartiko, a disaster mitigation agency official, told CNN on Monday.

All of the dead, and at least three injured people, were found in Sukameriah, authorities said over the weekend.

It was the first time Mount Sinabung's volcanic output had resulted in deaths, the Jakarta Post reported.

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