Some Indians were among thousands of tourists stranded at Bali's international airport, which was briefly closed down today following the volcanic eruptions at Mount Agung.
Some Indians were among thousands of tourists stranded at Bali’s international airport, which was briefly closed down today following the volcanic eruptions at Mount Agung. The Indonesian government had announced closing of the Ngurah Rai International Airport from 3 am local time until 7 pm. However, with a favourable change in wind direction the airport allowed flights to resume around 2.30 pm.
A group of 10 Indians holidaying in southern Indonesia were among others who were stuck, even as the Consulate General of India, Bali set up a help desk at the airport to assist Indian nationals. “Sir my relatives and their friends about 10 people from India, on a vacation are stuck in Bali. Please help,” a Twitter user posted. Responding to the appeal, the CGI told him that the Bali airport reopened at 2.30 pm and advice your relatives to contact their airlines for rescheduling.
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The decision to close the airport was taken after careful consideration by the national aviation authorities, the Centre for Geological Disaster Mitigation and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, according to a statement by the Indonesian Tourism Board. “While the sun is shining and there is little sign of volcanic ash in the southern regions of Bali, evidence of volcanic ash at higher altitudes on aviation approach and departure paths has prompted the decision to close the airport,” it said.
They said that the people in south Bali — an area some 60-70 km from the volcano — were in no direct threat from the volcano’s eruption. “The ‘danger zone’ is a small area with a radius of 4 km from Mount Agung’s crater. All tourist activities and trekking activities near Mount Agung have been suspended until further notice,” the statement said.
The closure had sparked the cancellation of more than 300 flights with nearly 27,000 passengers affected, according to the airport. About 400 local residents living near the rumbling volcano — about 75 km from Bali’s tourist hub of Kuta — moved to evacuation centres.