Last updated: 12:28 PM ET, Fri July 10 2015

Thousands of Tourists Stranded in Indonesia after Volcano Eruption

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | July 10, 2015

Thousands of Tourists Stranded in Indonesia after Volcano Eruption

PHOTO: Mount Raung, pictured, erupted on Friday causing mass flight cancellations. (Courtesy of Thinkstock)

Thousands of tourists have been left stranded in Indonesia as a giant volcano on the country’s main island erupted and began shooting ash high into the atmosphere, causing mass flight cancellations and airport closures.

The volcano—Mount Raung in East Java province—is about 93 miles from tourist hotspot Bali and the island’s airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport. The volcano had shown pre-eruption activity and finally erupted on Friday, shooting ash and debris 12,460 feet into the air.

According to The Associated Press, the eruption has caused government officials at the transport ministry to close five local airports due to the risks the volcanic ash can pose to airplanes, and has advised airlines to avoid routes near the volcano.

The eruption has resulted in airport closures at Bali, Lombok, Banyuwangi and Jember, and flights have been canceled until Friday, with a chance of delays being even longer if the ash saturation in the air doesn’t improve.

Adding to the issues facing airports and airlines in Indonesia is the fact that tens of millions of the country's Muslims travel during the end of Ramadan. There are also a plethora of Australians who visit Bali during their time off from school, all stranded on the island until the ash in the air clears and air traffic is once again permitted.

While this particular eruption was not expected, Indonesia has around 130 active volcanoes and the country is used to dealing with the eruptions and earthquakes due to the nation’s location on a fault line.

Not only is Mount Raung erupting right now, but Mount Sinabung in Sumatra has also been erupting for two months.

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