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Tourists evacuated as Indonesian volcano erupts

Mount Barujari began erupting late Tuesday afternoon, sending columns of ash and smoke up to 2 km into the sky over Lombok island, a tourist hotspot. Photograph: (AFP)

Jakarta, Indonesia Sep 28, 2016, 05.15 AM (IST)

Indonesia's Mount Barujari began erupting late Tuesday afternoon, leaving nearly 400 tourists stranded near the volcano, Indonesian officials said. 

The volcano, situated on the Lombok island, spewed ash and smoke up to two kilometres (1.2 miles) into the sky. Barujari is a volcano inside a volcano, part of Mount Rinjani. 

Indonesia's national disaster agency spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, "A rescue team has been sent to Mount Rinjani to evacuate the tourists. They set off on Wednesday morning".

Since Sunday, 389 hikers were recorded hiking near the volcano, the majority of which were foreigners. The agency is worried about some hikers going off track, instead of taking the official route, Nugroho said. 

The national disaster agency warned tourists from going near the volcano and asked them to maintain a distance of at least three kilometres from the site. 
Mount Barujari is two steps away from being categorised as high-risk. 

Indonesia's transport ministry spokesman, Hemi Pramuraharjo, told AFP that ash clouds did not create a problem for airplanes, but some flights to Bali were cancelled. 

However, the Lombok International Airport remained functional and other flights were unaffected. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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