BALI – Thousands of tourists are stuck on the Indonesian island of Bali, after a volcano eruption forced its airport to shut and nearly 700 flights to be cancelled.
Mount Rinjani, on the nearby island of Lombok, erupted Sunday morning, and has been spewing ash into the air for the past four days.
The ash has blown westward in the direction of Bali, forcing authorities to close the Denpasar international airport.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, said Rinjani has thrown ash and debris 11,000 feet (3.4 km) into the air. He posted a graphic of the ash moving in the direction of Bali:
Lombok island’s Selaparang airport and Blimbingsari airport on the Java island were also affected by the eruption, said reports quoting the Ministry of Transportation.
Rinjani is one of over 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia. During July’s peak holiday season, another of its volcanoes, Mount Raung, erupted and four airports — including Bali’s — were shut, affecting tens of thousands of travellers.
In 2010, Mount Sinabung awoke after nearly four centuries of lying dormant. Its eruptions in the past five years have already pushed 10,000 villagers to evacuate its vicinity.