Indonesian volcano erupts – international airports closed

Indonesian volcano erupts – international airports closed

Indonesian volcano erupts – international airports closed

Written by Bella Dalima

14 Feb, 2014 | 3:49 pm

A major volcanic eruption in Indonesia shrouded a large swath of the country’s most heavily populated island in ash on Friday, triggering the evacuation of more than 1,00,000 people and the closure of three international airports.

Two people were killed when the roofs of their homes collapsed under the weight of the ash and volcanic debris unleashed during an explosive overnight eruption of Java island’s Mount Kelud that could be heard up to 200 kilometres away, the country’s disaster agency said.

International airports in Jogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya were closed due to reduced visibility and the dangers posed to aircraft engines by ash, Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said. Virgin Australia said it had canceled all its Friday flights to Bali, Phuket, Christmas Island and Cocos Island because of the eruption.

Indonesia’s disaster agency said tremors were still wracking the volcano, but scientists didn’t expect another major eruption.

The 1,731-meter Mount Kelud in eastern Java Indonesia’s most densely populated island and home to more than half of the country’s 240 million people has been rumbling for several weeks and was under close observation.

Muhammad Hendrasto, head of Indonesia’s volcano monitoring agency, said the mountain erupted violently about 90 minutes after authorities raised its alert status to the highest level. The disaster agency said it had spewed millions of cubic meters of debris into the atmosphere.

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