Bali Airport closure due to volcanic eruption leaves thousands of tourists stranded

Bali Airport remains closed for 24 hours from Monday disrupting 445 flights and some 59,000 passengers due to the eruption warning and the presence of volcanic ash from Agung.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said, “Bali’s international airport had closed for 24 hours and authorities would consider reopening it on Tuesday after evaluating the situation.”

  The small international airport on the neighboring island of Lombok had already been closed on Sunday after the plumes of ash had drifted east.

‘Plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12km from the peak,’ the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement after raising the alert level from three to four.

According to the airport operator, buses are provided as alternative way to take travellers to ferry ports for alternative travel arrangements.

Indonesian authorities have raised the state of alert to its highest level.

The island’s airport has now closed, leaving thousands stranded in the tourist hotspot.

Authorities say dark smoke and ash have been billowing up to 3,400m (11,150ft) above the mountain’s summit, which has also been emitting fire.

Since last week, Massive columns of thick grey smoke have been pouring out of Mount Agung and they shot more than two miles (three kilometers) into the sky early Monday, prompting the island’s international airport to be closed, leaving thousands of tourists stranded.

Agung started rumbling again last week and so-called cold lava flows appeared Monday – they are similar to mud flows and are often a prelude to the blazing orange lava seen during many volcanic eruptions.

Mt. Agung erupted in 1963 killed about 1,600 people, one of the deadliest eruptions in a country that has more than 120 active volcanoes.

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