Two British tourists have been rescued after getting lost on Bali’s Mount Agung. It is believed the duo attempted to climb the volcano without a guide and got lost on the route. The Bali Search and Rescue Team in Denpasar was alerted to the situation by the British Consulate at around 10.40 pm on Thursday.
The two travelers, known only by their first names, Liam, 27, and Alex, 19, are believed to have gotten lost on Mount Agung after a change in the weather. Putu Agus Handika Bhayangkara, the SAR Field Coordinator, confirmed to reports on Friday, 28th October, that both men were found safe and well after the incident.
Bhayangkara told reporters that a team of 10 search and rescue officers was dispatched to the Pasar Agung Temple, where the men had started their hike on Thursday. The search and rescue team traced the route from the temple to an altitude of around 1,800m. Bhayangkara said, ‘They were safe at an altitude of 1830 masl and were directed to Telungbuana, Sebudi Village, Karangasem….Finally, two and a half hours later, the two victims were found’.
After receiving the call from the British Consulate at 10.40 pm, the team from the Karangasem SAR Post was already heading towards Pasar Agung Temple by 10.55 pm. Their swift response was no doubt to thank for the safe return of Liam and Alex. Bhayangkara shared that ‘the obstacle faced by the joint SAR team was that the access of the trail was not clearly visible, due to limited visibility due to foggy weather and dense forest’.
Nevertheless, Liam and Alex could walk back down the volcano unaided but guided by the search and rescue teams. Liam and Alex have not commented on their rescue to local reporters, and the British Consulate has not released any statements.
Although an incredibly popular hike, the journey to the summit of Mount Agung is not to be underestimated. Nor that of Bali’s other popular volcano hike, Mount Batur. Although many travelers opt not to have a guide accompany them up the trial, generally to save money, the trail is dangerous in places and is not clearly signposted from start to finish. It is recommended to take a guide, and there are many local rules in place to ensure that this is the case. Sadly, people have died on the trail to the summit of Mount Agung and Mount Batur after falling on the route or suffering injuries.
The rapidly changing weather is also something to be ultra-conscious of, especially during monsoon season. Due to the elevation of the trail and the rapidly changing weather patterns, conditions on the volcano can change in a heartbeat. One moment the visibility can be 100%, and in the blink of an eye, thick rolling fog can surround hikers leaving them disorientated and in danger.
All that said, the hike to the summit of Mount Agung is one of the highlights of Bali’s natural landscapes. The volcano holds deep spiritual and cultural significance to the Balinese people and should always be approached with respect as if entering a temple. Early this year, a Canadian man was arrested, deported, and blacklisted from Indonesia after stripping naked at the summit and attempting to do a Maori Haka, which proved deeply insulting to communities across Indonesia and Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Hiking Mount Agung is an incredible experience that sits high on the bucket list of both local people and international visitors. In June 2022, a 6-year-old girl from Pempatan Village in Karangasem Regency reached the summit of Bali’s highest peak.
Putu, the daughter of a hiking guide, had been determined to reach the summit for as long as she could remember. Accompanied by family members and others from her community, on the 10th of June, young Putu reached the top of Mount Agung.
Her family believed she could be the youngest person to climb to the top of the sacred volcano, certainly the first in recent history, and do so unassisted as she hiked every last step up and down without help.
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