Vast ash cloud prompts Indonesian island residents to flee after active volcano erupts for second time in months and prompts fears air travel could be disrupted
- Mt Semeru erupted on an Indonesian island and evacuations are happening
- One person has died and 41 people are injured from burns, officials have said
- Witnesses say volcanic ash is blocking out the sun in two different districts
- A monitoring body issued a warning about an ash cloud rising up to 50,000 ft
One person has died and 41 are injured from burns following a volcano eruption on the Indonesian island of Java for the second time in months.
A rain of volcanic ash from Mt Semeru is blotting out the sun in two regions, according to witnesses and a monitoring body issued a warning of an ash cloud rising up to 50,000 ft to airlines.
Evacuations are underway, officials have said today.
An active volcano has erupted on the Indonesian island of Java for the second time in months
Videos shared on social media show residents screaming as they run away from the ominous plume and others finding shelter from a rain of falling ash.
In some areas the sky has turned dark and infrastructure has been damaged.
The eruption took place at about 2.30pm local time. Local authorities have set up a restricted zone of three miles from the crater after it happened.
Thoriqul Haq, a local official, told Reuters that the eruption has been a ‘very pressing, rapid condition’.
A road and bridge from the area to the nearby city of Malang had been severed in the aftermath as residents are trying to flee.
Campbell Biggs, a meteorologist at The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), told the BBC that the ash cloud was higher than the cruising altitude for most aircraft and may cause diversions.
He added it should slowly vanish.
Most planes are likely to try avoid getting caught up in its path as ash that solidifies on the cooler parts of the engine can stall or fail engines if airflow is disrupted.
Pilots’ visibility and the air quality in cabins is also affected.
Social media videos show residents fleeing from the giant ash cloud
The centre said the ash was drifting south-west over the Indian ocean after appearing to have detached from the volcano’s summit.
Mt Semeru, one of Indonesia’s some 130 active volcanoes, regularly spewed up ash up to around 14,100 ft, meaning that today’s eruption is unusual in severity, Mr Biggs also said.
The volcano sits 12,000ft above sea level and last erupted in December 2020.
A person swipes ash off a railing following the eruption of Indonesia’s Semeru volcano last December
Villagers resting at a temporary shelter after evacuating their homes when the volcano last erupted in December 2020
It then spewed thick columns of ash high into the sky, triggering panic among people living nearby and leaving several villages blanketed with falling ash.
However there were no immediate reports of casualties but evacuation was hampered.
The eruption was accompanied by a thunderstorm and rain, which combined with lava and smouldering debris and formed thick mud that destroyed at least one bridge connecting two main villages of Pronojiwo and Candipuro.