Thousands of tourists have been stranded in Bali after authorities closed off the international airport on the paradise island fearing that volcanic ash spewed by the Mount Agung may jeopardize the safety of aircraft and travelers.

As many as 100,000 people should evacuate expanded danger zone around Bali volcano, the Indonesian disaster agency said on Monday.

denpasar ngurah rai airport

An estimated 59,000 passengers were affected after Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport canceled 445 flights (196 international and 249 domestic) on early Monday morning after the alert level for Mount Agung volcano was raised to the highest level, following Saturday’s eruption and the subsequent activity at the crater.



Airport authorities said that the decision to close the air hub was made after tests showed ash had reached its airspace. Volcanic ash is dangerous for the aviation as it can damage aircraft engines. The airport managed to divert seven flights that were about to land to airports in Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore just before the full closure was announced at 6 a.m. local time.



Flight information boards showed cancelations as tourists arrived in the morning hoping to depart the island, which authorities now believe faces an “imminent” bigger eruption. Some passengers learned of the cancellations as they were ready to board the aircraft. Confusion and chaos began to spread at the airport. While the gateway to the island is to remain closed until at least Tuesday, authorities said they would reevaluate the air quality every six hours. Passengers hope that a window of opportunity will present itself for them to leave the island.

Source: rt.com.

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