Facing Fresh Bali Volcano Eruption Red Warning Issued to Airlines

Facing Fresh Bali Volcano Eruption Red Warning Issued to Airlines

Indonesia's disaster management agency said the eruptions were no longer "phreatic", which means they are triggered by water hitting superheated rocks and usually short-lived.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said ash clouds were moving away from the worldwide airport, which remained open, The Guardian reported. The airport on neighbouring Lombok was closed later in the day, as the ash cloud was moving to the south-east of the crater towards the island.

Qantas, Virgin and Dutch airline KLM soon followed Jetstar's lead in cancelling flights.

Hengki Heriandono, acting corporate secretary of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, earlier said the airline cancelled all of its 18 flights to and from Lombok.

The flights of about 5,000 passengers were cancelled on Sunday and another 2,500 holidaymakers could not get in because their planes were rerouted or never took off.

The airport authority is preparing for the worst-case scenario - a total closure caused by a shifting ash cloud, Herson said.

An exclusion zone of 7.5km (4.5 miles) remains in place for those near the volcano, with authorities distributing masks to those in close proximity to smoke. There hasn't been an increase in seismic activity, he said.

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Several thousand people were affected by Saturday's flight cancellations.

Some 25,000 people have been prevented from returning to their homes since the volcano awoke in September.

Most recently, the 3,142-metre volcano spewed grey smoke and ash as high as 700 metres Tuesday, and again Saturday to twice that height, before beginning to emit lava Sunday.

Indonesia sits on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" and has more than 120 active volcanoes.

During its last eruption in 1963 it left more than 1,000 people dead and destroyed several villages.

On Oct 29, the centre lowered the volcano's alert level by one notch after it was raised to 4 on Sept 22 in response to the most intense volcanic activity recorded in 53 years.

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