Stranded in Bali
Denpasar – An erupting Indonesian volcano forced the closure of five airports yesterday, including one in the holiday island of Bali, causing about 350 flights to be cancelled and stranding thousands of holidaymakers.
The international airport on popular Lombok island was also among those closed late Thursday as Mount Raung on the main island of Java spewed clouds of ash, the transport ministry said.
The closures came during peak holiday season in Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia which attracts millions of foreign tourists every year to its palm-fringed beaches.
“It’s pretty chaotic,” Katie Nagar, an American expatriate living in Indonesia told AFP. She described arriving at the domestic terminal in Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport to discover her flight to Jakarta on Indonesian flag carrier Garuda had been cancelled and rescheduled to Sunday.
“There’s basically just hundreds of people camped out on the grassy lawns in front of the airport. There’s lines of hundreds of people waiting to talk to customer service,” Nagar added.
An AFP reporter in the international terminal estimated about 1,000 people were stranded there, with some trying to seek information from airport officials while others were sitting or sleeping on the floor.AFP
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