Mount Ruang Erupts in Indonesia

Mt Ruang Eruption, April 18 | Image Credit: Antara News
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A series of volcanic eruptions in Sulawesi prompted local tsunami warnings and flight cancellations, even by Malaysia Airlines.

Indonesian rescuers swiftly mobilised on Thursday (April 18) to evacuate thousands of people following a series of eruptions from Mount Ruang, which spewed volcanic ash and flamed with lava. The volcano, located in Indonesia’s outermost region, erupted four times on Wednesday alone, prompting authorities to elevate the alert level to the highest tier.

The eruption, accompanied by lightning bolts, led to the closure of the nearby international airport in Manado city on Sulawesi island for a 24-hour period. Efforts were intensified to evacuate 11,000 residents from the surrounding area, including the remote island of Tagulandang, inhabited by approximately 20,000 people. Amid scenes of panic, some residents fled independently, seeking escape routes amidst falling volcanic debris.

Incredible images of Mt. Ruang’s eruption have been appearing in media worldwide | Image Credit: SCMP

Jandry Paendong, an official from the local search and rescue agency, reported that residents were evacuating along the coastline using rubber boats, but called for additional resources to ensure the safety of those near the volcano. Tourists and residents were cautioned to stay beyond a 6km exclusion zone. The eruptions also prompted concerns about a possible tsunami, with authorities urging communities, particularly those near the beach, to remain vigilant. This apprehension stemmed from previous calamities, notably the 2018 tsunami triggered by the collapse of Mount Anak Krakatoa, which resulted in hundreds of casualties.

Indonesia, situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activities. The eruption of Mount Ruang necessitated the closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado city, approximately 100 km from the volcano, for 24 hours due to volcanic ash dispersion, impacting all flights in the region.


According to Simple Flying and multiple other sources, Malaysia Airlines has announced that it will cancel several flights to/from KL International Airport (KUL) to Sabah and Sarawak on April 18. It has listed 10 flights to and from the state of Sabah and eight flights to and from the state of Sarawak.

The airline is constantly monitoring the situation and has said that it is working to accommodate passengers affected by service disruption.

AirAsia has also canceled flights to and from nine airports, including Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan, Labuan, Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Kuching and Brunei. These services will remain suspended from April 18, 10:00 local time, until April 19, 08:00.

Passengers booked from these affected areas have been advised to check their registered email and mobile phones for cancelation notifications. Bo Lingam, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, commented,

“… We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with relevant authorities including CAAM to assess the conditions for resuming operations to affected destinations …”

Given the situation and anticipating troubles that passengers booked on affected flights might face, AirAsia has come up with the following two options for those looking to reschedule flights or cancel:

  1. Move Flight: One-time change to any new travel date within 30 days from the original departure date on the same route without additional cost and subject to seat availability.
  2. Credit Account: Retain the value of the flight booking in the guest’s AirAsia Rewards member account for future travel with AirAsia to be redeemed within 730 calendar days (2 years) from the issuance date. The travel date of the new booking can fall on any date within the published flight schedule on

For any flights around the area, passengers are advised to monitor the situation and check directly with the airline on which they are booked for updates.

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