Rescuers were sifting through smoldering debris and thick mud in search of survivors a day after the highest volcano on Java island erupted with fury, killing at least 14 people with searing gas and ash.

Mount Semeru in Lumajang district in East Java province spewed thick columns of ash more than 12,000 meters (40,000 feet) into the sky in a sudden eruption Saturday triggered by heavy rains. Villages and nearby towns were blanketed and several hamlets buried under tons of mud from volcanic debris.

Flows of hot gas and lava traveled up to 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) to a nearby river at least twice on Saturday and three times on Sunday with a smaller distance of up to 2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles), according to Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Agency.