The airport is closed due to the Indonesian volcano eruption

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Wednesday’s dramatic eruption of the volcano on a remote island in the province of North Sulawesi threw a fiery-red column of lava, incandescent rock and ash as much as three km (two miles) into the sky.
Purple flashes of lightning rent the sky above the erupting volcano, videos on social media showed.
“We’re running, guys,” said one witness who filmed the eruption while scrambling to evacuate.
More than 800 people were evacuated from the area, with authorities widening the evacuation zone further after the volcanology agency raised the alert status.
“The potential for further eruption is still high, so we need to remain alert,” agency official Heruningtyas Desi Purnamasari told reporters on Thursday, blaming a rapid escalation in volcanic activity.
Transport authorities shut the airport in the provincial capital of Manado to protect against the showers of ash from the eruption.
Officials have also flagged the risk of a tsunami if parts of the mountain collapse into the ocean below.
About 400 people were killed in a tsunami unleashed by a previous eruption of the volcano in 1871.

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JAKARTA, April 18 (Reuters) – Indonesia closed a provincial airport and evacuated hundreds of people from the Ruang volcano’s vicinity on Thursday, announcing the highest alert level due to the volcano’s days-long explosive lava, rock, and ash plumes.

Up to three kilometers (two miles) high, a fiery red column of lava, glowing rock, and ash shot skyward during the volcano’s spectacular eruption on a secluded island in the province of North Sulawesi on Wednesday.

Social media videos revealed purple lightning flashes ripping through the sky above the erupting volcano.

One witness, filming the eruption while frantically trying to flee, exclaimed, “We’re running, guys.”. “The ash is approaching, so we are running away. “.

After the volcanological agency raised the alert level, more than 800 people were evacuated from the area, and the evacuation zone was expanded by the authorities.

Citing a sharp rise in volcanic activity, agency official Heruningtyas Desi Purnamasari warned reporters on Thursday that “the potential for further eruption is still high, so we need to remain alert.”.

The official added that the agency had also received reports of homes being damaged by falling rocks and ash, and that a nearby hospital had to be evacuated.

In order to shield Manado, the provincial capital, from the eruption’s ash showers, transportation authorities closed the airport.

After receiving a safety threat alert from aviation authorities, low-cost carrier Air Asia canceled flights to nine airports in East Malaysia and Brunei.

According to Abdul Muhari, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, authorities have blocked off a six-kilometer (four-mile) radius around the volcano and are evacuating additional people, some of whom are from the nearby island of Tagulandang.

It was necessary to evacuate about 1,500 people in high-risk areas right away, he said, and about 12,000 more people might be impacted.

If portions of the mountain collapse into the ocean below, officials have also warned of the possibility of a tsunami. When the volcano erupted in 1871, a tsunami that killed about 400 people was released.

Clarence Fernandez edited; Kate Lamb wrote; Fransiska Nangoy reported.

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