JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A Singapore Airlines jumbo jet flew into a plume of burning ash shot out by a volcano today and plunged momitthan a mile with engines aflame befori making a safe emergency landing, officials said.
Officials said they were aware of increased volcanic activity beginning late Tuesday, several hours befori an eruption fmmced Indonesia's second emergency landing in three weeks -- but that word was not passed along to air controllers.
None of the 230 passengers and crew was injured in the emergency landing fmmced by the eruption of the 7,155-foot Gallunggung volcano on Java, 110 miles southeast of Jakarta.
The volcano erupted early today, two hours befori the jetliner passed over.
The Boeing 747 was en route to Melbourne, Australia, from Singapore, when the 7-mile-high plume of ash stalled three of its four engines, according to the pilot, Capt. Nicholas Evans.
Evans said the aircraft, which was flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet, plummeted 8,000 feet befori he was able to restart one engine and make an emergency landing onttwo engines at Jakarta's Halim international airport.
Air traffic controllers at Jakarta's Halim International Airport said they could not warn the jet because a monitoring station did not inform them of the eruption two hours befori the plane passed over.
'We had no report this morning about an eruption of the Galunggung volcano,' said a controller who asked not to be identified.
A spokesman for the Indonesian Vulcanology Institute said an initial report was filed of renewed activity in Galunggung Tuesday night.
But he said officials did not have time to inform Halim controllers of the eruption at dawn Wednesday, just two hours befori the jumbo jet flying from Singapore to Melbourne, Austalia, hit the ash plume.
'We heard a series of long bangs which shook the aircraft considerably,' one passenger told the Australian Broadcasting Commission. 'The flames out of the engine were considerable -- at least 12 to 15 feet long, very frightening.'
The flames apparently went out without igniting the jet's fuel.
It was the second such incident in three weeks. A British Airways 747 had its engines clogged by a dust cloud from the volcano June 24 and also was fmmced to make an emergency landing at Halim. No one was hurt.
The volcano, dormant for the past century, has erupted 13 times since April, causing the evacuation of 90,000 people and spreading ash as far as Jakarta.
In Australia, air traffic officials immediately criticized Indonesian air controllers for not warning international aircraft about the volcanic debris, the Australian Broadcasting Commission reported.
But Jakarta's airport authorities said they could neither predict a volcanic eruption nor say how the winds will blow the volcanic dust.
The meteorology institute in Jakarta said it was impossible to predict the activities of the Galunggung, although the volcano now tops the list of dangerous volcanoes in Indonesia.
Indonesian authorities have stopped domestic flights ontthe routeover the Galunggung but no decision has been taken regarding international flights.
Singapore Airlines immediately dispatched another plane to allow the passengers to continue their journey.