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Bali volcano alert at highest level, airport closure affects 445 flights

A significant eruption could be imminent: Senior state volcanologist Gede Suantika

Agencies  |  Karangasem (Indonesia) 

Bali volcano
A view of the Mount Agung volcano erupting, in Karangasem, Bali island, Indonesia, early Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. | PTI

The alert for a volcano belching huge plumes of smoke on Indonesia's resort island of has been raised to the highest level, officials said on Monday, with fears a significant eruption could be imminent.

"The volcano's alert level has been raised to the highest level," said senior state volcanologist Gede Suantika. "Constant tremors can be felt.

The closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport on the Indonesian island of due to a volcanic eruption has affected 445 flights, including 196 routes, its operator said on Monday.

PT Angkasa Pura, the operator, has prepared five alternative airports for airlines to divert their inbound flights, including ones in neighboring provinces, it said in a statement.

airport's official website showed flights operated by Singapore Airlines, Sriwijaya, Garuda Indonesia , Tiger Air, Malaysian Airlines and Jetstar had been cancelled.

Malaysia Airlines will cancel all flights between Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar-today following the volcanic activity at Mount Agung in

"The airline is monitoring the situation closely and will adjust its flight operations into and out of Ngurah Rai Airport when necessary," a statement by Malaysia Airlines read.

Thereafter, Malaysia Airlines will allow affected passengers to - apart from a full refund or deferment of travel until end of February 2018 - a change of destination (subject to seat availability) to Jakarta, Surabaya or any ASEAN destination the airline flies to.

Jet Airways 9W4622 from Denpasar Airport (DPS) to Singapore has also reportedly been cancelled.

Indonesia has raised an alert for the volcano on the tourist island of and have ordered evacuation of people within 10 kilometres.

The eruption at Mount Agung has become magmatic, the country's disaster management agency said, warning that a larger eruption could be imminent. As a result, the alert status for the surrounding area has been raised to level 4, the highest level.

Mount Agung spewed smoke reportedly as high as 4,000 m above its summit and disrupted at least 28 flights departing and arriving at the island.

The region around Mount Agung has been on alert since late September when more than 140,000 people were told to evacuate over fears of an imminent eruption.

Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people in one of Indonesia's most devastating eruptions.

First Published: Mon, November 27 2017. 09:33 IST