Bali ash cloud strands thousands of tourists at airport

Thousands of tourists stranded at airport after flights are cancelled for third day

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Photo of passengers stranded at the airport

Thousands of passengers were left stranded in Indonesia's Bali after ash from Mount Rinjani volcano forced the grounding of several flights on Thursday (November 05).

Hundreds of flights flying in and out of the resort island were cancelled after thick volcanic ash covered the sky since early this week. Authorities closed the Denpasar Airport on Tuesday evening and plan to keep it shut until at least Friday (November 06) morning, said local media.

"We are going to Singapore actually from here but out flights got canceled. So, we are stuck here. Volcanic eruption due to volcanic ash all flights have been cancelled," said an Indian passenger, Jai Kishan.

Eruptions at Mount Rinjani, which towers out of the nearby island of Lombok, have spread a cloud of volcanic ash in the direction of Bali, posing a danger for aircraft engines.

Some passengers have been stranded at the airport for two days.

"We were supposed to go yesterday but we are waiting," said a Dane passenger, Christian, adding, "They told us that they are opening tomorrow but we don't know because volcano erupted and went down for one day or two day."

Experts say volcanic ash sucked into aircraft engines can melt into a glass-like substance that can cause a loss of thrust and even engine failure.

In the past, Mount Raung volcano in East Java, caused similar chaos in July. About a year before that, it was Mount Sangeang in the Lesser Sunda Islands that brought about a series of flight cancellations.