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Ash cloud from volcano eruption shuts down 4 airports in Indonesia

By Doug G. Ware
Ash cloud from volcano eruption shuts down 4 airports in Indonesia
Four Indonesian airports were closed Friday, including one on the resort island of Bali, after an eruption at Mount Raung (pictured) sent a large ash cloud into the sky. Multiple carriers also canceled flights into Indonesia following Raung's eruption. Photo: Eugene Novikov / Shutterstock

JAKARTA, July 10 (UPI) -- Four airports across Indonesia were closed early Friday after a nearby volcano came to life and spewed ash that drifted for hundreds of miles, officials said.

The eruption of Mount Raung, located on the eastern end of the Indonesian island of Java, led officials to close the airports -- Denpasar, Lombok, Banyuwangi and Jember -- on advice from Indonesian scientists, CNN reported.

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Denpasar Airport is located on the island of Bali, a highly popular tourist destination.

The airports' closures also prompted multiple carriers, including Singapore Airlines, to cancel flights to Indonesia, Bloomberg reported.

Officials said the airports are scheduled to reopen at 9:30 p.m. local time, weather permitting.

"If [the closures] last for three to four days, the impact will be significant," Bali tourism official Ngurah Wijaya told CNN. "We have to deal not only with cancellations from tourists but also we have to take care of those who are stranded here because they cannot leave."

Flying through volcanic ash can be dangerous, as aircraft may ingest enough particles of dirt and crushed rock to damage its engines. In 1982, a British Airways Boeing 747 lost all four of its engines while flying through volcanic ash spewed by Indonesia's Mount Galunggung. The jetliner landed safely in Jakarta but highlighted the danger of flying into an ash cloud.

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