Lumajang, E Java (ANTARA News) - The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park authority on Tuesday reopened the hiking track along Mount Semeru in East Java Province despite the ongoing search operation for a missing Swiss hiker in the area.

Section Head of Area III National Park Management of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Authority, Budi Mulyanto, said here on Tuesday that the authority will improve its surveillance and services. He also said it will provide a short briefing to hikers at the Ranu Pani Post before they begin the ascent.

"Several signs meant for hikers were blown away due to natural disasters, as a result of which hikers often lost their way during the descent," Mulyanto said.

The authority, therefore, has repaired and put up new signs to assist the hikers.

However, the authority has set an exclusion zone, prohibiting hikers to trudge till the Semerus peak (3,676 meters above sea level) because volcanic activity was still reported and an alert level II status had been declared.

Meanwhile, a joint Search and Rescue (SAR) team continued its operation to look for the Swiss hiker, who had gone missing at the highest volcano in Java Island.

The search resumed this Monday and will continue for the next seven days following a request by the victims family and the Honorary Consulate of Switzerland, Head of the National SAR Team of East Timur, M. Arifin, said.

The search for 26-year-old Lionel Du Creaux was called off on Saturday evening after a 10-day operation that yielded no result.

The SAR team followed the traces, hoping to find the missing mountaineer. Fresh footprints indicated that he was constantly on the move along the highest hiking route in Java, 3,676 meters above sea level.

The team had searched the 75-meter-deep valley called Blank 75, and several other places, such as Kalimati, Patok A, and Patok B, and also at the peak of the mount but failed to find the Swiss national.

On June 10, the team had conducted a search along the Tawon Songo route and found identical footprints along with a rope hook, believed to belong to Creaux, at the point B area. It is located at coordinates point 08 degrees, 4 16.1 South and 112 degrees, 57 16.1 East.

However, the team was unable to find Creaux despite having followed the traces.

Mulyanto stated that the Swiss Consulate had appealed to the rescue team to continue its search efforts, and they were willing to offer logistical assistance.

The hiker from Switzerland was pronounced missing during an attempt to illegally hike Mount Semeru. The incident was reported by his partner, Alice Guignard, to the officers of Ranu Pani Post on June 7.

Both Creaux and Guignard had illegally hiked the highest mountain in Java on June 3 as they had not registered themselves and not purchased an entrance ticket that would have permitted them to hike Mount Semeru.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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