Ash blankets villages, flights cancelled after Bali volcano erupts

Bali's Mount Agung is sending large plumes of ash into the skies in Indonesia. Photo by Made Nagi/European Pressphoto Agency

Nov. 26 (UPI) — The majority of international flights out of Bali have been cancelled after several volcanic eruptions on Mount Agung sent plumes of ash into the skies on Saturday and Sunday.

No seismic activity has accompanied the eruptions, and Indonesian officials have said the island remains safe outside of a 4.7-mile danger zone surrounding Mount Agung.

“Bali is safe just keep away from the disaster prone areas,” Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority said on Twitter.

However, a “red warning” remains in effect, which means an eruption is eminent.

Magma has been detected close to the surface on Mount Agung.

A spokesperson with the disaster agency told the Jakarta Globe the ash cloud is 13,000 feet above the ground and moving eastward at 11 miles per hour.

Authorities have begun handing out face masks in several villages where ash fall has been reported.

While the airport remains in operation, several major carriers have cancelled flights. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia cancelled 18 domestic flights on Sunday. Virgin Airlines cancelled several flights between the island and Australia.

Even if visibility is clear, volcanic ash can damage an airplane’s engine. Officials have been regularly testing the air at the airport near Bali’s capital, Denpasar.

Bali is a popular tourist destination, known for its seaside resorts and sandy beaches. However, tourist revenues have declined over the past year. Thousands were forced to evacuate earlier this year due the threat of an eruption on Mount Agung.

The last time the volcano had a major eruption, in 1963, more than 1,000 people perished.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here