Jakarta: More than a dozen flights were cancelled on Indonesia’s island of Bali on Saturday due to an ash cloud emitted by a fresh eruption of Mount Agung volcano. Also Read - Fitting Punishment? Tourists Roaming Without Masks Made to Do 50 Push-ups in Bali | Watch
The eruption, which lasted four-and-a-half minutes, was accompanied by a loud rumbling and spread lava and incandescent rocks three km from the crater, national disaster management agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement, reported Efe news. Also Read - 34 Killed, Hundreds Injured After Earthquake of 6.2 Magnitude Rocks Indonesia's Sulawesi Islands
Flights to and from Bali operated by Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia Airlines and Jetstar Airways were cancelled, and a Jetstar flight between Adelaide and Bali’s capital Denpasar was diverted to Darwin in northern Australia. Also Read - Black Box of Crashed Indonesian Plane Retrieved From Jakarata Gulf Waters
The mountain’s ash cloud dropped from a height of 4,000-5,000 meters (13,100-16,400 feet) to around 1,000 meters, the head of the Bali airport authority, Elfi Amir, said in a statement. He added that passengers should not panic as contingency plans were in place.
A thick rain of ash and dust affected nine villages near the volcano, where a four-km radius exclusion zone remained in place.
Authorities issued an orange alert for aviation – the second-highest after the red alert – while the eruption warning remained at level 3 on a scale of 4.
Mt Agung became active in September 2017 and its eruptions have forced operations at Denpasar airport to be halted many times.
The last major eruption of the volcano took place in 1963 and lasted for nearly a year, killing more than 1,000 people.
The Indonesian archipelago is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that records thousands of mostly small to moderate tremors every year.