Mount Barujari: 1,000 tourists evacuated in Indonesia after volcano eruption

Mount Barujari erupted without warning on Tuesday. Fifty climbers are still missing but believed to be safe.

Denda Wiyana Putri/AP
Volcanic material from the eruption of Mount Barujari is seen from Bayan, Lombok Island, Indonesia, on Sept. 27, 2016. The volcano erupted without warning on Tuesday afternoon, delaying flights from airports on the islands of Lombok and Bali. Denda Wiyana Putri

Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency has evacuated approximately 1,000 tourists after a volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok erupted unexpectedly on Tuesday, shooting a 6,560-foot column of ash into the sky.

No injuries have been reported from the eruption that took place on Mount Barujari, a small mountain within Mount Rinjani, one of the most active volcanoes in the region. Approximately 50 climbers are yet to be accounted for, but they are believed to be safe. Located on the famed Pacific Ring of Fire, with more than 130 active volcanoes, Indonesia experiences a great many eruptions, particularly in the past few years.

"Hundreds of tourists have exited Mount Rinjani and they are in good condition," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the Disaster Mitigation Agency, told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

The Disaster Mitigation Agency stated that 1,023 tourists were in Mount Rinjani National Park on Lombok Island, a popular tourist spot located near Bali, when the volcano erupted on Tuesday and the park was evacuated. Of the 400 tourists registered to climb the mountain, approximately 50 climbers are still believed to be missing, according to Mount Rinjani National Park official Daniel Rosang. 

The column of ash clouded the sky and delayed flights out Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and Lombok International Airport for several hours. Flights to and from the resort island of Bali were most affected. Service had returned by Wednesday morning as the skies cleared. 

"We're constantly monitoring updates ... and are constantly coordinating with related airport authorities," Baskoro Adiwiyono, a spokesman for Indonesia AirAsia, told The Wall Street Journal.

Surrounding towns and farms have been dusted with ash but otherwise unharmed. Given Indonesia's volcanic history, authorities pay close attention to any eruptions, as The Christian Science Monitor reported last year:

Two of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in recorded history took place in Indonesia. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora spewed so much ash into the atmosphere that it disrupted world climate, causing widespread crop failures in what Europeans would call "the year without summer."

In 1883, the disastrous eruption of Krakatoa was followed by severe tsunamis that killed about 36,000 people, one of the deadliest volcanic events in history.

Local authorities recommend caution and have warned people to keep 2.8 miles from the summit. The status of Mount Rinjani has been changed to "alert" after being placed on "active" last year after a string of volcanic activity in Indonesia.

Mount Sinabung also erupted earlier this year, killing seven people. The mountain had been dormant for four centuries prior to 2010.

In July 2015, the simultaneous eruption of Mount Raung and Mount Gamalama closed five airports and left thousands of tourists stranded as they traveled to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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