Indonesia’s Mount Ibu erupts again, spews hot ash and sand

A volcano in eastern Indonesia today spewed a cloud six kilometers into the sky, the latest of about a hundred eruptions since the beginning of this year.

The latest eruption of Mount Ibu, on the island of Halmahera in the North Moluccas region, occurred at 3:30 a.m. local time and caused sand to fall in the surrounding areas, according to authorities. The volcano, which has erupted at least 95 times since the beginning of this year, is currently on the highest alert level in Indonesia’s four-level system after authorities raised it earlier this month.

“A column of ash, gray in color with great intensity, was seen moving towards the west,” Geology Agency director Muhammad Wafid said in a statement. “All the noise was heard up to the (observation) post,” he added.

He called on people not to enter the exclusion zone between four and seven kilometers from the volcano. The volcano erupted a few weeks ago at a similar rate, spewing a 5km tower of ash into the sky.

Ibu is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, with more than 21,000 eruptions last year. According to the Geology Agency, Ibu recorded an average of 58 eruptions per day in 2023.

Indonesia, a large island, experiences seismic and volcanic activity due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. Last month, Mount Ruang in the North Sulawesi region erupted more than half a dozen times, forcing thousands of residents of nearby islands to evacuate.

It remains at the highest level of security. About 800 people living on Ruang Island will be relocated permanently.

A Singapore Airlines flight returned to Singapore on Sunday with the passenger who died in a severe crash, five days after it made an emergency landing in Bangkok, Channel News Asia reported.

A 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack and several others were injured on Tuesday when flight SQ321, en route from London to Singapore, encountered what the airline described as sudden and severe turbulence while taking off – fly to Myanmar. The plane carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew members diverted to Bangkok for an emergency landing.

Forty-one people on board are still in hospital in Bangkok, including five in intensive care – three Australians, a Briton and a New Zealander, Samitivej Srinarin Hospital in the Thai capital announced on Sunday. The flight tracking service Flightradar24 showed the plane, operating as flight SQ9071, leaving Bangkok at 11:49 am on Sunday and arriving in Singapore at 1:39 pm.

“SIA received the necessary support from the relevant authorities in Singapore and Thailand, researchers and aircraft designers, engineers and flight crew cleared the plane before take off,” he said in a statement. up Singapore told CNA.

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