Bali braced for Mount Agung's first major eruption

Indonesia closed the airport on the tourist island of Bali on Monday and ordered 100,000 residents living near a rumbling volcano spewing columns of ash to evacuate immediately, warning that the first major eruption in 54 years could be “imminent”.

The airport was closed for 24 hours from Monday morning, disrupting 445 flights and some 59,000 passengers, after Mount Agung, which killed hundreds of people in 1963, sent volcanic ash high into the sky, and officials said cancellations could be extended.

Bali, famous for its surf, beaches and temples, attracted nearly 5 million visitors last year, and its airport serves as a transport hub for the chain of islands in Indonesia’s eastern archipelago.