Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flights to Bali turned back as ash spews from volcano

The plans of Australian holidaymakers to one of their most popular tourist destinations are in disarray after flights to Bali were again cancelled due to a volcano.

Those on board a Jetstar flight 116 from Perth were the first to be affected this afternoon, and are headed home after the plane's crew were forced to turn around, just 360km - or an hour - from their destination.

Daniel Meilech, who was on the flight, told Watoday.com.au that the flight's captain told passengers that the volcano was about 300km west of Bali.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre says the ash is coming from Tengger Caldera, on the island of Java.

According to the captain, all following flights would also be turned around, Mr Meilech said.

The plane landed in Darwin, and will depart back for Perth this afternoon.

"We're going to spend 10 hours in a plane and are coming back to where we started," he said.

However, it was not all bad news, with the captain informing passengers that Customs would allow them to keep any duty free items they had purchased.

Virgin Blue flights from Brisbane and Sydney were scheduled to land shortly after the Jetstar flight.

A Virgin Blue spokeswoman said passengers from the two flights would be accommodated in Darwin until the airline received advice from the advisory centre, she said.

"At this stage we don't expect to operate flights for the next 24 hours," she said.

Jetstar has been contacted for comment.

Today's eruption follows those of Mount Bromo and Mount Merapi late last year. Those also caused flights to Bali to be cancelled

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