13:09 GMT +322 November 2019
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    A Balinese man sits as Mount Agung volcano erupts at Lempuyang Temple in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia November 27, 2017

    Mount Agung's Eruption Shuts Bali Airport, Prompts Massive Evacuation (VIDEO)

    © REUTERS / Johannes P. Christo
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    Indonesian authorities have closed the international airport on Bali island, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, due to Mount Agung's volcanic ash ejection, which has reached the area of the airport, according to reports from pilots.

    "We have conducted a meeting this morning and decided to suspend the airport’s operation for safety reasons," Herson, the head of the airports authority for Bali and East Nusa Tenggara, told reporters on Monday.

    "We have received reports from pilots that volcanic ash has reached the area above the airport. We conducted an observation and found that that is true, so we decided to close the airport," he further specified.

    Passengers ask staff about their flights after Ngurah Rai airport closed their operation due to eruption of Mount Agung in Bali resort island, November 27, 2017
    © REUTERS / Antara Foto/Fikri Yusuf
    Passengers ask staff about their flights after Ngurah Rai airport closed their operation due to eruption of Mount Agung in Bali resort island, November 27, 2017

    The facility will be out of operation at least until Tuesday morning; the authorities will assess the situation every six hours, the official said.

    Meanwhile, the alert status of Mount Agung was upgraded from level three to level four (the highest level, red) on Monday morning, prompting the authorities to evacuate around 100,000 people within the 10 kilometer area around the volcano. Volcanologists, however, warned of an imminent larger eruption.

    The mountain expelled ash clouds as high as 4,000 meters above the crater and residents as far as 12 kilometers away reported low explosive noises and flares, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said in a statement Monday, as cited by Bloomberg.

    Tens of thousands of travelers have been affected by the natural disaster and the country's transport ministry has reported that it has prepared 100 buses and ferries to transfer stranded passengers to operating airports on Java and Lombok islands.

    Tags:
    eruption, evacuation, closure, airport, volcano, Bali, Indonesia
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