At least five people died Saturday and hundreds more were evacuated following the eruption of lava, rocks and ash from the Mount Rokatenda volcano on the small island of Palue, Indonesian authorities said.

The head of the Palue district, Marten Adji, told local media by telephone that inhabitants of the area fled in search of shelter and that five were trapped by the lava and killed, according to reports he had received.

"Only three of the five bodies have been recovered and the other two have not been accounted for," the official said, according to the Jakarta Post.

The explosion of lava and a plume rising 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) in the air occurred before dawn, when most of the inhabitants were at home.

People living on the small island, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) wide and 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) east of Jakarta, have been used to living with the rumblings of Rokatenda and unexpected evacuations for almost a year, when volcanic activity increased and a series of small eruptions began.

Rokatenda rises to 875 meters (2,900 feet) above sea level and its deadliest eruption on record occurred in 1928, when 300 people were killed.

The Indonesian archipelago lies within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by some 7,000 temblors a year, mostly of low magnitude. EFE