Mount Sinabung Erupts in Indonesia, Airlines Receive ‘Red Notice’

Feb 19, 2018

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Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupted on Monday, causing havoc and confusion on the island of Sumatra. No deaths have been reported in the eruption although smoke and hot ash have reached 23,000 feet in the air.

Indonesia has raised flight warnings for the area and the regional volcanic ash advisory center in Darwin, Australia, issued a “red notice” to airlines, its highest alert. Mount Sinabung last erupted in 2016 and killed seven people. The volcano was dormant for 400 years until it erupted in 2010, with another eruption in 2014.

If the eruption produces an ash plume large enough, flights in the region could be disrupted and airplanes would have to avoid the area, even when overflying the region without stopping. Flights to and from Australia could be affected, for example. Mount Sinabung is relatively close to large international airports like Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Singapore (SIN), but those have not been affected so far.

Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) is located about 47 miles away from the eruption but has remained open, due to winds blowing ash away from the airport. Meulaboh (MEW) and Silangit airports (DTB) will also continue operations, according to the regional airport authority. authority. Only Kutacane airport (KTC) in Aceh province has been closed.

Large carriers like AirAsia, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines and SilkAir serve Kualanamu airport. Medan also is home to many hotels, including properties like the Four Points by Sheraton Medan and JW Marriott Medan.

Disaster agency spokeswoman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the eruption showered nearby villages with rocks and multiple earthquakes occurred.

Indonesian schoolchildren walk together at Sipandak elementary school in Tiga Pancur village in Karo, North Sumatra on February 19, 2018, as thick volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung volcano rises into the air following another eruption.Sinabung roared back to life in 2010 for the first time in 400 years and has remained highly active since. (Photo by ANTO SEMBIRING/AFP/Getty Images)
Schoolchildren at Sipandak elementary school in Tiga Pancur village in Karo, North Sumatra on February 19, 2018, as thick volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung volcano rises into the air. (Photo by Anto Sembiring/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Flight activity seemed to be quiet near the site of the eruption according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, although Lion Air 230 flew near the site of the eruption.

Featured image by Endro Rusharyanto / AFP / Getty Images.

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