Volcano: All Flights suspended to Bali

Bali, volcano eruption, Indonesia, air transport

Ash pours from Mount Agung during an eruption on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Sunday (Getty Image)

On Sunday, Indonesian and regional authorities had already heightened flight warnings as the Mount Agung volcano’s eruptions sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam more than 6,000 metres into the skies above the popular holiday island. Pictures showed ashes covering roads, cars and buildings in the vicinity of the volcano.

Video released by the national disaster agency showed a mudflow of volcanic debris and water known as a lahar moving down the volcano’s slopes.

However, the situation in Bali is further worsening as volcano Mount Agung started to erupt again on Monday. The volcano is releasing once more heavy clouds of ashes in the air. Consequently, all flights to and from Bali are now suspended under further notice.

The closure, is effective as of Monday morning. It follows the alert raised to its highest level by authorities. In addition, authorities have extended the exclusion zone from 7 km to 10 km on the island, amid fears of an imminent major eruption. “As we have widened the exclusion zone, so the number of people evacuating will increase but we don’t have the latest data yet,” a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency told to the news agency AFP.

“Continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions accompanied by a weak sound of boom which sounds up to 12 km from the summit,” the National Board for Disaster Management wrote on Facebook on Sunday night.

Flight cancellations are leaving thousands of tourists stranded. “Bali’s airport has indeed been closed. We’re still coordinating the next steps,” airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim told AFP.

The closure was set to affect tens of thousands of passengers, he added.

According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Bali’s international airport is now closed for 24 hours and authorities will announce if they will consider reopening it on Tuesday after evaluating the situation. In the nearby island of Lombok, the international airport was also closed partially on Sunday following the cloud of ashes moving eastwards. However, it reopened again on Monday.

(Sources: ANTARA/AFP)