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Flights resume as Bali volcano dissipates into a wispy plume of steam

Indonesia’s disaster agency says the volcano remains at its highest alert level but most of Bali is safe for tourists.

world Updated: Dec 04, 2017 09:24 IST
Associated Press, Karangasem (Indonesia)
Bali,Bali volcano,Bali’s Mount Agung volcano
Tourists gather to watch Mount Agung at Amed beach in Karangasem on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali last week. (AFP File Photo)

Gushing ash from Bali’s Mount Agung volcano has dissipated into a wispy plume of steam, and Australian airlines that cancelled some flights to the Indonesian resort island on the weekend have returned to near-normal schedules.

Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said Monday the volcano remains at its highest alert level but most of Bali is safe for tourists.

The exclusion zone around the volcano still extends 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater in some directions. More than 55,000 people are living in shelters.

Airlines Jetstar and Virgin Australia, which cancelled flights over the weekend even as the ash cloud shrank dramatically, said they were resuming services Monday.

The full-moon is seen along with Mount Agung volcano in Bali on Monday. (Reuters Photo)

The region’s volcanic ash monitoring center in Darwin, Australia, has stopped issuing advisories for Agung, reflecting that it’s currently posing no threat to aircraft. It would resume advisories if there’s another eruption.

Tens of thousands of tourists were stranded when ash closed Bali’s international airport for nearly three days last week.

Indonesian government volcanologists say Agung’s crater is about one-third filled by lava and there is still a high risk of more eruptions.

The volcano’s last major eruptions in 1963 killed more than 1,100 people and it was active for more than a year.

David Boutelier, a geologist at the University of Newcastle in Australia, said the chance of a violent explosion is still “very high” but possibly not as high as several weeks ago because pressure is being released.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 09:22 IST