Bali's Mount Agung Erupts For Second Time This Week

Nov 27, 2017, 01:03
Bali's Mount Agung Erupts For Second Time This Week

Up to 7,000 air passengers are stranded on the island at the main Bali airport of Ngurah Rai, while Indonesia's Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation alert status from orange to its highest possible red status, signifying extreme hazards to aircraft.

"Tourism in Bali is still safe, except in the danger (zone) around Mount Agung", the agency said in a statement. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia cancelled 18 domestic flights on Sunday.

Even if visibility is clear, volcanic ash can damage an airplane's engine.

Worldwide airlines including Jetstar and Qantas cancelled flights to and from Bali in the wake of the eruption. The twelve departures affected include from Bali to Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne by Jetstar, to Brisbane by Virgin Airlines, and two to Sydney and one to Amsterdam by KLM.

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Authorities warned anyone still in the exclusion zone around the volcano, which extends 7.5 kilometres (4.5 miles) from the crater in places, to leave.

Bali is Indonesia's top tourist destination and its gentle Hindu culture, surf beaches and lush green interior attract about 5 million visitors a year.

On Saturday, four airlines made a decision to ground at least 16 of their flights because of the increasing activity of the volcano in the afternoon.

Emergency authorities have handed out eerie masks to local residents and tourists trapped on the island as fears grow about an imminent major eruption. For its part, Malaysia Airlines ensures that it continues to operate in Bali normally, while some Australian companies also continue ir operations.

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However, Mount Agung's current eruption is still not considered unsafe.

While many have since returned, more than 25,000 people remain evacuated in over 200 temporary shelters. During that period, eruptions lasted nearly a year and caused more than 1,100 dead.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

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