Bali volcano erupts but flights operating normally
KARANGASEM, Indonesia — A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali has rumbled into life with a series of eruptions that temporarily disrupted some international flights to the popular tourist destination.
Australian airline Jetstar, which canceled nine flights to and from Bali on Saturday evening, said most of its Bali flights will operate normally Sunday after its senior pilots assessed it was safe to fly. However it warned that the movement of ash cloud is highly unpredictable and flights could still be canceled at short notice.
Mount Agung erupted on Saturday evening, hurling ash 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above the crater, and again twice early Sunday, lighting its cone with an orange glow and sending ash 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) into the atmosphere. The ash clouds have been moving away from Bali’s airport, where nearly all scheduled domestic and international flights were continuing Sunday.
Disaster officials said ash up to half a centimeter (less than an inch) thick has settled on villages around the volcano and soldiers and police were distributing masks.
Authorities said anyone still in the exclusion zone around the volcano, which extends 7.5 kilometers (4.5 miles) from the crater in places, should leave the area.
Agung also had a minor eruption on Tuesday but authorities have not raised its alert status from the second highest level, which would widen the exclusion area and prompt a large evacuation of people.
About 25,000 people have been unable to return to their homes since September, when Agung showed signs of activity for the first time in more than half a century.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.
Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has more than 120 active volcanoes.
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