Chile volcano ash grounds flights in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Stiff winds blew ash from a Chilean volcano Tuesday in a widening arc across Argentina to the capital, grounding most air travel to and from the country for much of the day.

Since airborne ash can severely damage jet engines, Aerolineas Argentinas and Austral, the country's state-owned international and domestic airlines, canceled all flights within Argentina as well as to and from other countries. At least six international carriers also suspended flights between Buenos Aires and cities in the United States, Europe and South America, and flights from Chile over Argentine territory also were suspended.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Aerolineas announced it was slowly resuming flights from Buenos Aires to the north and east, areas beyond the reach of the thickest part of the plume. But airports closer to the volcano were ordered closed through at least Sunday. LAN Air Lines also was resuming flights over Argentine territory.

The cancellations left the usually bustling international and domestic airports in Buenos Aires nearly deserted as aviation regulators met to study the weather patterns. Geologists have said the Cordon Caulle volcano could keep erupting for several weeks.

The ash cloud was blowing well to the south and away from Chile's capital, Santiago, but at least four international carriers there also suspended flights across Argentina to Buenos Aires, Brazil, Uruguay and Europe as a precaution.

The closest major city to the volcano is San Carlos de Bariloche, just over the border in Argentina, where thick abrasive soot was coating slopes in a string of resorts that depend on the winter ski season, opening in less than two weeks. The plume then stretched northeast before curving east, dumping ash over Argentina's vast ranchlands before reaching the capital and even Paraguay, north of Argentina.

"Given that even this morning the volcano continues to be active, the reopening of the airports isn't expected until the conditions necessary for security can be guaranteed," Argentina's transportation department announced.

Transportation officials were meeting with representatives of Argentina's meteorological service, civil aviation board and airport regulator to figure out where the ash cloud will move next and what to do about it, the statement said.

The ash couldn't be seen in the streets of downtown Buenos Aires by midday Tuesday.

But Jorge Echarran, who runs the emergency council of the surrounding Buenos Aires province, said in a local radio interview that "the cloud is already in the suburbs and is reaching the capital," hovering at an altitude of between 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) and 22,970 feet (7,000 meters).

Closer to the volcano, strong rains that began Monday night increased the danger of rivers getting clogged with ash and then overflowing in flash floods. Evacuations were expanding, with more than 4,000 people already fleeing their homes.

Vulcanologist Jorge Munoz of Chile's National Geology and Mines Service said the eruption so far is considered to be moderate, but that could change. He said the volcano will likely begin to expel lava in the coming days, along with pyroclastic material that can turn waterways into avalanches of mud and rock.

Many people have refused to evacuate despite living below the eruption, which opened a three-mile long fissure along a high-altitude ridge between two volcanic peaks.

That could prove to be fatal, according to Michael Dobbs, a volcano expert at the University of Santiago who said the "eruptive column," more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) high, could collapse, suddenly releasing molten lava, toxic gases and other material measuring 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Celsius) on communities below.

___

Associated Press writer Federico Quilodran in Santiago, Chile, and Almudena Calatrava in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl aviation has met int’l safety standards – CAAP
    Phl aviation has met int’l safety standards – CAAP

    The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said that the country’s aviation has met international safety standards and is currently being reviewed by the European Union. Members of the EU delegation recently made a courtesy call on CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III. Beda Badiola, CAAP’s Flight Standards and Inspectorate Service chief, said all air carriers in the country have followed regulations that the agency was able to oversee properly according to standards. “They …

  • Absence of full-time PNP chief affecting police services
    Absence of full-time PNP chief affecting police services

    Despite the pronouncement of the leadership of the Philippine National Police that it’s business as usual, some basic services are undeniably affected by the absence of a full-time PNP chief, particularly the issuance of gun permits. The PNP had deferred the issuance of permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) since Dec. 3, a day before the Office of the Ombudsman slapped a six-month suspension on former PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, who is facing plunder charges. …

  • Expanded Phl-US war games start today
    Expanded Phl-US war games start today

    The Philippines and the United States will kick off today this year’s Balikatan military exercises amid concerns over China’s reclamation activities in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. More than 11,000 Filipino and American troops will join the drills to be held simultaneously in different locations until April 30. …

  • Budol-budol, dugo-dugo scams now online
    Budol-budol, dugo-dugo scams now online

    Authorities warned the public yesterday to be more careful in dealing with people they meet online as the “budol-budol” and “dugo-dugo” gangs have expanded their deceptive operations on social media. Senior Inspector Robert Reyes, assistant chief of the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) investigation section, said online financial fraud is one of the emerging forms of scams in the country. Reyes said scam operators are looking for prospective victims online through …

  • Noy wants next PNP chief to serve beyond his term
    Noy wants next PNP chief to serve beyond his term

    President Aquino is inclined to name a new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief who can serve beyond the 2016 elections. Speaking to reporters at the Tarlac National High School before the weekend, Aquino said he was bewildered by the amended PNP Act that requires all deputies of the PNP chief to serve or stay at least one year in his post. Among the contenders for PNP chief are Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., suspended Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta and Director Juanito …

  • ‘Stronger global action sought on China moves’
    ‘Stronger global action sought on China moves’

    Stronger international action is needed to counter China’s rapid reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. Belmonte noted that statements of condemnation from global powers on the continued encroachment of China in the disputed waters have been ineffectual. He added that China’s blatant expansion activities are making the problem not just a regional security problem, but a global one. “China is obviously violating our territory in front …

  • MILF refusal to surrender fighters jeopardizing talks
    MILF refusal to surrender fighters jeopardizing talks

    Leaders of the House of Representatives renewed their call yesterday to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender its fighters allegedly involved in the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the House independent bloc, said the continued refusal of MILF leaders to turn over their men is causing the further erosion of support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. “I hope the MILF …

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options