Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Volcanic Eruption in Tonga strands Tourists

Travellers and holidaymakers have been left stranded after flights to and from Tonga were cancelled on Monday and again yesterday because of a huge volcanic ash cloud in the area.
Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways and Virgin flights have all been affected, including one from Auckland that had to be diverted to Samoa.
Tonga Airports chief executive Viliami Ma'ake said all flights to and from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand were cancelled until further notice because of the ash.
The volcano is about 63km north of  Nuku'alofa.
An alert has been issued by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Wellington and NZ's Civil Aviation Authority is monitoring the situation.
Meteorological manager Peter Lechner said: "Looking at the advisory, they've still got an ash cloud extending from the southeast. From the ocean surface, the plume is up to 30,000 feet (9,144 mts) high."
Aircraft cannot fly through volcanic ash because it can severely damage the engine, erode the fuselage and windscreen and clog the fuel system.

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