Bali's Mt. Agung Erupts, Airport Remains Open
Mt. Agung, a volcano in Bali, Indonesia, has begun erupting after months of warning from authorities and residents being advised to evacuate. However, Tuesday night's eruption was small, and there has been little panic reported on the island.
The initial eruption sent a dark grey plume rising about 700 meters above the peak of the volcano. According to ABC, since the initial eruption, there have been no new evacuations on the island.
Denpasar's airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), remains open at this time. In addition, both Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia said on Tuesday night local time that their flights were operating to and from DPS as scheduled.
A spokesman for DPS said that visual observation via pilot reports was ongoing. Since the eruption on Tuesday night, the aviation color code from the Agung Volcano Observatory has been increased to orange with an ash cloud no higher than 3,900 meters, meaning:
"Volcano is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of eruption.
Volcanic eruption is underway with no or minor ash emission."
A FlightRadar24 map shows that aircraft are still flying in and out of DPS, as well as around the vicinity of Mt. Agung, which is located near the northeast corner of the island. Arriving aircraft are flying around the east coast of the island.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is telling travelers that the eruption was small, and the property doesn't expect any disruptions at this point. According to the hotel, the volcano is located about two hours from it.
"People are encouraged to remain calm," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency. "Do not panic and believe misleading issues. Ngurah Rai International Airport is still safe and normal. Tourism in Bali is also safe, other than the dangerous radius around Mt. Agung."
This eruption, albeit small, comes less than a month after its alert status was downgraded. Because of a decrease in seismic activity, the alert level was downgraded from the maximum level of four to three. However, in September, at least 140,000 nearby residents were evacuated.
If you're in Bali or traveling to Bali in the near future, this small eruption shouldn't be enough to send you into a panic. Experts say that there is nothing to worry about at this point — as long as you stay away from the immediate radius of Mt. Agung.