EARTHQUAKE AWARENESS

Utah Man Stuck On Top Of Volcano When Earthquake Strikes Indonesia

Aug 6, 2018, 5:18 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2019, 12:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah man was stuck on the top of a volcano when a massive earthquake struck an island in Indonesia.

Rescuers were still digging through the rubble in search of survivors after a 7.0 earthquake killed at least 98 people Sunday. More than 200 others were hurt and at least 20,000 people are now homeless, according to authorities.

That earthquake struck the island of Lombok. Just a week before, the same area was hit by a 6.4 magnitude quake. Craig Chilton, from Utah, was on top of a volcano on the island when it happened.

Chilton grew up in Bountiful and attended BYU. He’s lived in Thailand with his family for the past year. A week ago, he traveled to Indonesia and hiked to the top of Mt. Rinjani. That’s when he thought he was going to die.

“It’s a little over 12,000 feet in elevation gain and it’s pretty much straight up the whole way,” Chilton told KSL through a Facetime interview Monday. “The hike is definitely a grueling trek.”

Climbing Mount Rinjani had always been on Chilton’s bucket list. The 2-day trek to the rim of the crater isn’t for the faint of heart, but as Chilton’s photos show, hundreds of people attempt it every weekend.

“By the time I got up to the summit there were already 150-200 people that were up at the summit to with that many people in such a small space it was pretty packed in,” said Chilton.

Chilton made it to the very top of the volcano, but minutes after he snapped a few photos of the sunrise, disaster struck.

“All of a sudden it felt like someone just came and shoved you,” said Chilton.

The quake threw Chilton and other hikers to the ground.

“Sheer panic set in. I thought the volcano was actually erupting and this was the end,” remembered Chilton. “This was the way I was going to die.”

The earthquake only lasted seconds, but Chilton was traumatized by what he saw.

“The summit was literally falling apart during that 10 seconds. As I looked around, people were falling off the edges,” said Chilton. “In that moment, I was convinced I was watching people fall to their deaths.”

As soon as the shaking stopped, Chilton found his guide and the two men ran down the mountain. Two large aftershocks also struck but the pair managed to make it to safety. It was nearly 10 hours before Chilton could contact his wife and kids and let them know he was safe.

“On the way up, I was thinking how I’ve got to come back with my wife. I was thinking about if my 8-year-old would be old enough for it,” said Chilton. “But I’m going to keep my distance from volcanoes for awhile.”

At least 16 people were killed in that earthquake, but authorities say only one was a hiker on Mt. Rinjani. Chilton said the trail was closed down afterward, which he believes prevented more casualties from Sunday’s 7.0 earthquake.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Earthquake Awareness

Panorama of Temple Sqare renovations...
Emily Ashcraft

Massive undertaking: 3 years of progress on 5-year Salt Lake Temple renovation

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square are now three years into construction on a five-year project with some of the areas scheduled to be completed this year. As a new year begins, a news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided an update on the progress […]
10 days ago
A street in Benson Utah...
Mike Anderson

Cache Valley earthquakes are reminder about potential for Utah’s big one

The Cache Valley has seen more than a dozen earthquakes in just a few days. All of them centered around the west side of the county.
1 month ago
Onlookers stand on hardened lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure as lava erupts in Leilani Estates, ...
Rebekah Riess and Claire Colbert, CNN

Dozens of earthquakes detected as Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, world’s largest active volcano, remains in ‘state of heightened unrest’

Dozens of earthquakes detected as Hawaii's Mauna Loa, world's largest active volcano, remains in 'state of heightened unrest.
3 months ago
(USGS)...
Josh Ellis, KSL TV

Magnitude 2.5 micro earthquake felt across Salt Lake Valley

Seismologists said Friday's earthquake was another aftershock of the March 18, 2020, magnitude 5.7 quake.
8 months ago
A 5.7-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Magna rocked the Wasatch Front on March 18, 2020....
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Utah to receive $1.5 million from FEMA for 2020 earthquake damages

FEMA has approved $1.5 million for "public assistance funding" for the Magna earthquake of 2020 according to a release.
11 months ago
The earthquake's epicenter was about 14 miles southeast of Wells, Nevada. (USGS)...
Kelsey Ott, KSL TV

Magnitude 4.7 earthquake shakes northeast Nevada

People reported feeling the quake from West Wendover to Battle Mountain.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Utah Man Stuck On Top Of Volcano When Earthquake Strikes Indonesia