At least 14 people died and three others were seriously injured Saturday when the Mount Sinabung volcano on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra began to erupt, emergency management services said.

The bodies were found near the village of Suka Meriah, some 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the foot of the volcano, which has erupted several times over the past two months, The Jakarta Post newspaper said.

Authorities said that a restricted area 5 to 7 kilometers (3 to 4 miles) wide has been in force around Sinabung and they believe that those who were killed were inside that area doing research close to the crater.

The three injured were visiting the tombs of some family members near the volcano.

"The bodies of the victims were completely charred and stiff when we found them," said Jhonson Tarigan, director of the press center of the agency that keeps watch on Mount Sinabung.

More than 25,000 people had to be evacuated from around the volcano due to its repeated spewing of lava, rocks and ash.

Sinabung, which began a phase of eruptions in August 2010 for the first time in 400 years, has been active since last September.

Indonesia is situated on the so-called Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity around the Pacific Ocean with more than 400 volcanos, of which at least 129 remain active and 65 are listed as dangerous. EFE