Bali airport briefly shut as Mount Raung eruption persists

Jakarta, Jul 22 (IANS) The Indonesian transport ministry has opened the operation of Bali International airport in Indonesia after it was closed for about two hours on Wednesday due to eruption of Mount Raung in East Java, official said.

The ministry closed the international airport at the country’s tourism center of Bali, about 150 km from the volcano, at about 12:30 p.m. (local time) as the wind blew very fast and brought the volcanic ash to the southeast and south of the crater, said J.A. Barata, spokesman of the transport ministry.

“The airport was closed for two hours and was reopened at 14:30 p.m. (local time),” Xinhua reported.

The closing “is because the wind blew very fast. We intensively monitored the safety in aviation,” Barata said.

Two other airports, Blimbingsari airport in Banyuwangi district and Hadinotonegoro airport in Jember district, remained closed, said the spokesman.

Bali Ngurah Rai airport had been closed from July 9 to 11 along with four other airports due to eruption of the volcano, leaving thousands of foreign tourists stranded in the resort island and other cities.

Mount Raung near Banyuwangi district, which has been back to life since June 29, shot column of ash up to 2,000 meters into the air on Wednesday and spread to southeast and south of the crater, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of national disaster management agency said.

“The frequent of tremor with higher energy keep rising. Volcanic ash rained Jember district and its surrounding areas.”

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