Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts

Hannah Rogers
June 30, 2018

Passengers listen to information at Bali's global airport as airlines canceled flights. Several flights were cancelled or rescheduled on Thursday.

The worldwide airport at Indonesia's Bali island was reopened on Friday, after authorities closed it due to a volcanic eruption the previous day, AFP reported.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the disaster mitigation agency said activity was going on deep under the volcano.

Mount Agung has been spewing clouds of ash up to 2,500 metres into the air since Wednesday. Volcanic ash can damage aircraft engines, clog fuel and cooling systems, and affect visibility.

"We hadn't a place to stay for the night so we had to find something else, just took a taxi and stayed at a random hostel", said a stranded German backpacker who identified herself as Louisa. "Please do not manually re-book your flights", says Jetstar.

Despite the eruption, Agung's status remained on alert level, the second highest danger warning.

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Bali's Government Tourism Office said at 7am local time on Friday (12am BST) people living 60 to 70 kilometres away from the summit in South Bali faced no immediate threat.

Australia's national airline Qantas said it was monitoring advice from the regional Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Darwin, Australia, and its own pilots and meteorologists would decide when flights can resume.

An eruption at Mount Agung, about 70km from the coastal holiday area of Kuta, forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people past year.

Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption. Authorities are still scrutinising the situation and have not raised the alert level yet.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position in the highly active ring of fire - a belt of tectonic plate boundaries in the Pacific Ocean which is vulnerable to frequent seismic activity.

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