Indonesia raised its alert level for Bali’s Mount Agung volcano to the highest level – from three to four – on Monday and ordered residents to immediately evacuate areas near the summit, warning of the “imminent” risk of a larger eruption.
- Plumes of smoke, occasional explosive eruptions, sound of blasts, increasingly visible rays of fire
- AirAsia cancels 32 flights, reschedules two flights
- Affected AirAsia passengers entitled to change to new travel time on same route without additional cost, or retain value of fare for future travel
- Malaysia Airlines cancels all flights between KL and Denpasar on Nov 27
“Continuing plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km (seven miles) from the peak,” the Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said in a statement.
“Rays of fire are increasingly visible from night to the following day. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent,” it said.
Residents in a 8-10 km (5-6 miles) radius around the volcano were ordered to evacuate immediately.
Flights were diverted away from the island’s airport due to the presence of volcanic ash from the erupting Agung.
According to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, Australia, there is “ash confirmed on the ground at Denpasar Airport” as well as ash at FL300 (which refers to flight level at 30,000 feet) in the vicinity of the volcano.
It was reported that the airport on nearby Lombok island had reopened after an earlier closure because “no volcanic ash was detected”.
The alert level on Agung had been raised to the maximum in September but was lowered in October when seismic activity calmed. However, volcanologists now say that the volcano has entered a new phase with magma now visible and meaning a greater risk of a large eruption.
On Sunday, Reuters reported that the volcano’s eruption sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam more than 6,000 metres into the sky.
AirAsia had also announced that it had cancelled 32 flights and rescheduled two others following the volcanic activity.
It said in a statement that affected passengers would be notified of their flight status and their available options via e-mail.
Passengers may check their flight status via the ‘Manage My Booking’ feature on the AirAsia website.
According to AirAsia, passengers affected by the flight are entitled to change to a new travel time on the same route within 30 calendar days from the original flight without additional cost, The Star reported.
Alternatively, passengers can also choose to retain the value of their fare in a credit account for future travel.
Malaysia Airlines also announced that it will be cancelling all flights between Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar-Bali on Nov 27.
Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people and razing several villages.
Related report: Sept 25, Bali Volcano: Thousands Evacuated from Mount Agung Area