Chaos in rush to escape Mount Merapi's wrath

Indonesia's most volatile volcano sparked transportation chaos yesterday, with several international airlines cancelling flights to the capital and neighboring Malaysia airlifting out hundreds of its citizens from its vicinity.

Panicked residents who live near the base of Mount Merapi - which has claimed 138 lives in two weeks - crammed into trains and buses to seek temporary refuge with family and friends elsewhere.

The notoriously unpredictable volcano unleashed its most powerful eruption in a century on Friday, sending hot clouds of gas, rocks and debris avalanching down its slopes at more than 60mph, torching houses and trees and leaving a trail of charred corpses in its path.

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A mass burial for some of the 90 who died in that blast was held yesterday.

Merapi, meanwhile, showed no signs of tiring, sending out thunderous roars as it shot ash up to four miles into the air, dusting windshields and rooftops hundreds of miles away.