Chile volcano causes havoc

2011-06-14 09:49
Buenos Aires - A volcanic ash cloud in Chile delayed flights across South America and Australia on Monday, stranding thousands of travellers and forcing UN chief Ban Ki-moon onto an overnight bus.

The eruption of the Puyehue volcano, high in the Andes, entered a second week, spewing ash that has disrupted air travel on a scale unseen since the volcanic cloud over Iceland paralysed Europe in 2010.

Buenos Aires airports suspended domestic and international flights on Sunday night for the third time in a week, prompting a crisis meeting on Monday to assess the situation, the Argentine Civil Aviation Administration said.

"Meteorological conditions have worsened again, with forecasts that the cloud of volcanic ash will remain suspended in the area over the Ezeiza airport and the Jorge Newbery Metropolitan Airpark," the agency said.

At the Ezeiza international airport, an Ecuadoran tourist anxiously awaited a break in the dust cloud to fly home for medical treatment.

Stranded

"We're biting our nails, we're so anxious," she said.

Daniel Alegrin was stranded at the airport after flights to Alicante, Spain were delayed for a week.

"We come from Rosario [Argentina] and the [airline] refused to assume responsibility for our return home on grounds that it was a natural disaster," he said.

The UN secretary-general became the most high-profile person to be stranded after he was forced to rough it on an overnight bus to meet Argentinian leaders on Monday. Worse still - it was his birthday.

All ended well as Ban, who marked his 67th birthday on Monday, made it to the capital in time to meet Argentinian leaders and win their support for a second term as secretary-general.

"We are very happy to welcome him and to say to him that we support with joy his re-election," said Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.

Montevideo's Carrasco international airport in neighbouring Uruguay also suspended operations, with more than 70 flights cancelled, officials said, and Brazil has halted all flights to Uruguay and Argentina.

Winds

The Chilean Meteorological Service, said prevailing winds would continue to blow the ash into Argentina until Wednesday.

Chilean seismologist Enrique Valdivieso said the eruption could run its course within a week, but it was hard to know based on precedent. An eruption in 1960 lasted two weeks, but an earlier one in 1921 lasted two months.

The June 4 eruption has been hardest for tourist areas near the volcano like the alpine resort of Bariloche, whose airport has been closed for a week, and Villa Angostura, which is 30km away.

Strong winds have carried the ash cloud half way around the world, snarling travel as far away as Australia.

The Australian carrier Qantas said all flights in and out of the southern island of Tasmania and to New Zealand remained grounded on Monday, but it lifted a ban on flights to and from the southern Australian city of Melbourne.

Hours after the airline began working through the backlog of thousands of passengers stranded in Melbourne, it cancelled several flights into Adelaide after the plume moved into South Australian airspace.

Qantas said three international services to Buenos Aires and Los Angeles were also halted.

Aerial shutdown

More than 110 Qantas flights were cancelled on Sunday and Monday, delaying at least 20 000 travellers while as many as 25 000 more passengers have been disrupted by Qantas's offshoot Jetstar suspending some flights.

The eruption in 2010 of an Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjoell, caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, affecting more than 100 000 flights and eight million passengers.

Puyehue's eruption sent columns of debris 10 000m high, blanketing the picturesque mountains and lakes along the Chile-Argentina border in a snowy white ash and prompting the evacuation of 3 500 people.

Its last major eruption was in 1960, following a 9.5 magnitude earthquake - the largest on record.
- SAPA
Read more on:    volcanoes
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!

Who would have guessed the world’s least visited country would have such spectacular beaches?

 
 

I love summer.24

LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.