Thick smoke and glow from lava are seen as Mount Agung volcano erupts in Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, on Friday. Reuters
A volcano erupted on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, causing some overnight flight cancellations to and from Australia as an ash cloud rose into the sky, officials said on Saturday.
Mount Agung volcano spewed out lava and showers of rocks over a distance of about 3 km (2 miles), with ash falling over dozens of villages, officials said. There were no reports of casualties.
Flights, run by Qantas Airways, JetStar and Virgin Airlines, were operating normally on Saturday.
Authorities had 50,000 masks available as a precaution though the alert level on the volcano remained unchanged and there had been no evacuations.
Photographs of Agung overnight showed an ash column and glowing lava in the crater of the volcano, which rises majestically over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 metres.
In late 2017, authorities raised the alert level on Agung after a spike in activity, triggering evacuations and travel chaos at the time. The alert level has since been lowered but the rumbling Agung has erupted intermittently since then occasionally disrupting flights.
A major eruption in 1963 killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages
Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracts around 5 million visitors a year.
No casualties were reported, but an official had earlier urged people to stay at least 3 km from the crater, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said.
More than 70 people paid a fine of 100,000 rupiah ($7), but about 30 others said they did not have the cash. Instead, they were ordered to do push-ups. Those not carrying a mask had to do up to 50, while those who were wearing one improperly were punished with 15.
It was Mount Merapi’s biggest lava flow since authorities raised its danger level in November, said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center.
The winds were dust stirring and resulted in a decrease in horizontal visibility to less than 300 metres at times over the open areas, especially the north and east.
At least 20 confirmed or preliminary positive cases were found in a public housing block in the Kwai Chung neighbourhood, said health chief Sophia Chan. "Clearly there is a community outbreak and the situation is worrying," Chan told reporters.
The mentally disturbed man also attacked a security guard and a food delivery driver. Investigations showed that he suffers from severe mental disorders.