Thousands of flyers are stuck in paradise after a cloud of ash closed the airport.
Over 50,000 flyers are stuck in Bali after a volcanic eruption sent a cloud of ash over 9,000 feet into the air and forced the airport to close. The Associated Press reports that the closure at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) has canceled at least 445 flights, leaving flyers stuck until at least Tuesday.
According to BBC News, seismic activity around the Indonesian island’s volcano, Mount Agung, has increased over the last two months leading to the eruption. However, the eruption cloud did not disrupt the island’s air infrastructure until the weekend of November 25. With ash reaching the airport’s space, the decision was made to shut down the airport for passenger safety.
In a statement from Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre, spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho announced that the airport would be closed until 7 a.m. local time Tuesday. The AP notes that the situation is being evaluated every six hours in order to reopen flights to the tourist destination.
To accommodate those stranded under the cloud, members of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association noted that they would offer one free hotel night to those who cannot make it home. Emergency workers have also deployed 100 buses and are mobilizing ferries to help travelers evacuate to neighboring islands to depart from other airports. The aid may not be of much help: data from FlightAware.com shows that 44 percent of flights from neighboring Jakarta have been delayed with 16 cancellations, while other airports in the region are reporting similar jamming.
Around five million tourists are estimated to visit the island every year. Indonesia sits in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” known as the home of over 100 active volcanoes and noted as an infrastructure risk by some insurance companies.