Denpasar, Indonesia — A volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali sent plumes of grey smoke and steam kilometres into the air on Sunday for the third day in a week, disrupting flights and stranding thousands of tourists, officials said.
Mount Agung spewed smoke and ash as high as 4,000m on Sunday morning, causing at least 15 flights to be cancelled on Sunday afternoon, said a spokesman for Bali’s airport.
Indonesia’s volcanology centre put out a red alert warning airlines of a possible eruption, with a significant emission of ash into the atmosphere likely. But Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport was still open on Sunday afternoon.
Airlines could decide to delay or divert flights, said airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim.
"We try to make the airport as comfortable as possible for the passengers affected. We have provided rooms for them to unpack their luggage and video entertainment so they can relax a bit," Ahsanurrohim said.
At least 2,000 passengers were affected by the flight disruption, mostly from Australia.
But on the nearby island of Lombok, the airport was closed on Sunday evening as wind blew ash east from Mount Agung. The volcano last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people.