Indonesia airport near volcano closed after eruptions

Published : 18 Apr 2024 08:57 PM

The nearest Indonesian international airport to a volcano that erupted five times in recent days has been ordered closed for 24 hours due to volcanic ash, the transport ministry said Thursday.

Mount Ruang started erupting on Tuesday evening, sending an ash cloud more than a mile into the sky. Officials raised its alert level to the highest of a four-tiered system and warned falling debris could cause a tsunami after four more eruptions on Wednesday.

Sam Ratulangi International Airport in the city of Manado, located more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Mount Ruang, was forced to close until Thursday evening as a result.

It closed "due to the spread of volcanic ash which could endanger flight safety," Ambar Suryoko, head of the Manado region airport authority office, said in a statement.

The airport hosts airlines that fly to Singapore as well as cities in South Korea and China.

Its closure began Wednesday at 7:26 pm local time (1126 GMT) and will continue until Thursday evening, the transport ministry statement said.

An officer at the airport also confirmed the closure to AFP.

"All flights... impacted because the Sam Ratulangi airport is affected by the eruption of Mount Ruang, volcanic ash," Dimas, a 29-year-old airport officer who goes by one name, said by phone.