Image: MADE NAGI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Al menos 59,000 travellers have been left affected and hundreds of flights delayed after a volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Volcanic ashes from Mount Agung forced Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport to be closed for 24 hours, leading to the disruption of 445 flights.

The airport is closed at least until 7am GMT (+7) on Tuesday, according to National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock (9241051b) A flight information board shows cancelled flights at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, . Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a rumbling volcano on Bali to the highest level on Monday, stranding tens of thousands of travelers as ash clouds forced the closure of the tourist island's international airport Volcano, Bali, Indonesia - 27 Nov 2017

Imagen: AP / REX / Shutterstock

All flights departing and arriving from the airport are cancelled under “further notice.”

Airlines avoid flying when volcanic ash is present because it can lead to significant damage in aircraft engines, leading to possible engine failure, clogging fuel and cooling systems, and hampering pilot visibility.

One passenger at Bali airport who was at the airport earlier this morning for a 7am flight with carrier AirAsia, said that it was not until later at 7:30am that passengers were told that the airport was closing until 7am the next day, and that all flights would be cancelled.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock (9241051a) A flight information board shows cancelled flights at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, . Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a rumbling volcano on Bali to the highest level on Monday, stranding tens of thousands of travelers as ash clouds forced the closure of the tourist island's international airport Volcano, Bali, Indonesia - 27 Nov 2017

Imagen: AP / REX / Shutterstock

“We waited several hours in a queue for the check-in desk to speak to an AirAsia representative. When I finally spoke to one, he just went on to rebook [me] for the first flight tomorrow at 7:00am,” Jakob Aungiers told Mashable.

“I tried to ask about accommodation, or food vouchers, or even water, but they said [they] weren’t providing anything other than a flight rebooking…I [later left] at about 2pm.”

He said that the atmosphere in the airport was “one of confusion”, with a lot of the staff “not knowing what was going on either.”

However, he added that despite the recent volcanic eruption, the weather in Bali was “clear.”

“I think most people are generally annoyed, especially as outside it’s a beautiful clear day with no signs of any ash cloud or volcano,” he said.

Mount Agung is some 71km (44 mi) away from Bali's airport

Mount Agung is some 71km (44 mi) away from Bali’s airport

Image: google maps/screenshot

“My fingers are crossed my rebooked flight [leaves tomorrow]. Otherwise I’ll be stuck spending nights in hotels indefinitely.”

Other passengers similarly took to social media to share their experiences.

However, one passenger who had earlier had his flight cancelled eventually managed to find his way out, by making his way from Bali to Surabaya by boat, some 300km (186 mi) away.

“I took my driver up the west coast to catch a ferry to Java to catch a flight from Surabaya, [then I’ll go on to] Jakarta, Taipei and San Francisco. I have a meeting I can’t miss,” John Dean told Mashable.

Indonesia’s transport ministry has also prepared 100 buses as well as ferries to carry stranded passengers to operating airports on Java and Lombok islands, according to a Bloomberg informe.

Large scale eruption

Mount Agung first erupted on Saturday, its first major activity since 1963. It has continued spewing ash since, with explosive eruptions and weak blasts that can be heard up to 12km (7 mi) away from the peak.

However, what has got authorities worried is the threat of a large-scale eruption.

Authorities on Monday raised the warning level to the maximum level 4, and the designated exclusion zone has been extended to a 10km (6 mi) radius.

Some 40,000 locals have already been evacuated, but another 60,000 still need to move. A spokesman from Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) said authorities would move them by force if necessary.

Evacuees at an emergency shelter

Evacuees at an emergency shelter

Image: MADE NAGI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

“Not all residents have evacuated yet. There are those (who haven’t evacuated) because their farm animals haven’t been evacuated yet. There are those who feel they are safe,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told news outlet El guardián.

More than 1,000 people died the last time Mount Agung erupted in 1963.

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