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Bali Volcano Shuts Down Flights, Sends Residents Scrambling to Safety

Bali Volcano Shuts Down Flights, Sends Residents Scrambling to Safety

Satellite imagery Sunday showed the volcanic ash drifting east and southeastward towards Lombok Island.

VP Corporate of PT Garuda Indonesia Hengki Heriandono said Garuda Indonesia will continue to monitor the situation and developments related to the activities of Mount Agung, especially the activity of the spread of volcanic ash that can disrupt flight safety. Its main airport is for now operating normally, but some airlines have cancelled flights since volcanic activity was first noticed in September. The Malaysian-based airline has also rescheduled two or flights and has contacted affected passengers by email to offer a change of flight or route, as reported in a statement.

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

When the volcano last erupted in 1963, it killed more than 1,000 people and destroyed several villages, remaining one of the largest and most devastating eruptions in the Southeast Asian country's history.

An exclusion zone remains 4.5 miles from the crater.

GettyBalinese people look at Mount Agung during an eruption seen from Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on November 26.




According to media reports, an estimated 25,000 people still live in temporary shelters after increased volcanic activity prompted fears of a major eruption forcing 140,000 local residents to flee the area.

"We weren't notified by Jetstar in advance of us getting here (to Bali's airport)", said Australian tourist George Bennick.

It is feared that the volcano erupts for the first time since 1963, when almost 1,600 people had died.

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

Mount Agung belched smoke as high as 1,500 meters above its summit, twice as high as on Tuesday when smoke sparked an exodus from settlements near the mountain.

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