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Indonesia Raises Volcano Alert to Highest Level, Thousands Stranded as Bali International Airport Closes

Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere, which forced the small international airport on the neighbouring island of Lombok to close Sunday as the plumes drifted east.

Associated Press

Updated:November 27, 2017, 9:20 AM IST
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Indonesia Raises Volcano Alert to Highest Level, Thousands Stranded as Bali International Airport Closes
File photo of Mount Agung Volcano. (Getty Images)
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Jakarta: Thousands of travellers are stranded in Bali after ash from the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist island forced the international airport to close early Monday.

Flight information boards showed rows of cancellations as tourists arrived at the busy Bali airport expecting to catch flights home.

Hundreds of flights are cancelled and authorities say seven flights were diverted to airports in Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore when the closure was announced at about 6 am.

Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a menacing volcano on the tourist island of Bali to the highest level and ordered people within 10 kilometres (6 miles) to evacuate.

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.

Airport authorities say the decision to close Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport was made after tests showed ash had reached its airspace.

Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere, which forced the small international airport on the neighbouring island of Lombok to close Sunday as the plumes drifted east.

Geological agency head, Kasbani, said the alert level was raised at 6 am on Monday because the volcano has shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions. However, he says he's still not expecting a major eruption.

"We don't expect a big eruption but we have to stay alert and anticipate," he says.

Previously the exclusion zone around the volcano ranged between 6 and 7.5 kilometres.

The volcano's last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.
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