Almost 60,000 stranded under the volcano as Bali airport shuts down

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More than 59,000 travelers are stuck in Bali as the island’s Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar was ordered closed for at least 24 hours. (Update: The airport reopened on November 30 until further notice.)

The measure was taken due to volcanic ash from Mount Agung, a volcano in the island’s northeast, which seems to be set for a major eruption as authorities raised the volcano alert to the highest level on November 27.

The shutdown led to the disruption of 445 flights. A possible reopening is being evaluated every six hours, the airport operator said.

The volcano has been spewing ash into a height of around 4,000 meters in a large grey cloud that reached the area above the airport. Magma has now also reached the surface of the volcano, which indicates that a “strong, explosive eruption” is building up, authorities warned.

There had been fears the situation would become more dangerous overnight and the airport is preparing for the worst, authorities said.

Stranded passengers complained in social media messages about the airport’s staff handling of the situation. One traveler said that the atmosphere was “one of confusion”, with a lot of airline employees  “not knowing what was going on either,” and desks of low-budget airlines being understaffed and without providing assistance such as food vouchers or accommodation passengers are entitled to.

Meanwhile, Lombok International Airport on the neighbouring island of Lombok reopened at 6am on November 27 after it remained closed on the previous day because of the spread of volcanic ash from Bali. Some passengers stuck in Bali could be rerouted to Lombok, the airport suggested.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

More than 59,000 travelers are stuck in Bali as the island’s Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar was ordered closed for at least 24 hours. (Update: The airport reopened on November 30 until further notice.)

Reading Time: 1 minute

More than 59,000 travelers are stuck in Bali as the island’s Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar was ordered closed for at least 24 hours. (Update: The airport reopened on November 30 until further notice.)

The measure was taken due to volcanic ash from Mount Agung, a volcano in the island’s northeast, which seems to be set for a major eruption as authorities raised the volcano alert to the highest level on November 27.

The shutdown led to the disruption of 445 flights. A possible reopening is being evaluated every six hours, the airport operator said.

The volcano has been spewing ash into a height of around 4,000 meters in a large grey cloud that reached the area above the airport. Magma has now also reached the surface of the volcano, which indicates that a “strong, explosive eruption” is building up, authorities warned.

There had been fears the situation would become more dangerous overnight and the airport is preparing for the worst, authorities said.

Stranded passengers complained in social media messages about the airport’s staff handling of the situation. One traveler said that the atmosphere was “one of confusion”, with a lot of airline employees  “not knowing what was going on either,” and desks of low-budget airlines being understaffed and without providing assistance such as food vouchers or accommodation passengers are entitled to.

Meanwhile, Lombok International Airport on the neighbouring island of Lombok reopened at 6am on November 27 after it remained closed on the previous day because of the spread of volcanic ash from Bali. Some passengers stuck in Bali could be rerouted to Lombok, the airport suggested.

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