South Korea’s Foreign Ministry sent a chartered airplane to Indonesia on Thursday to bring home hundreds of Korean nationals stranded there after airports in Bali were closed due to an imminent volcanic eruption.
The Asiana Airline’s passenger carrier that departed from Incheon Airport at 3 p.m. will pick up 276 South Koreans from Juanda International Airport near Surabaya, Indonesia.
Asiana Airlines flight attendants bound for Bali, Indonesia, wait to board the aircraft on a special mission to bring back South Korean tourists who are stranded on the resort island amid warnings of imminent volcano eruption there. (Yonhap)
Koreans were transferred from Bali to the international airport in Surayaba via 12 buses supported by the ministry. The passengers are expected to arrive at Incheon at 7:30 a.m. Friday.
The flight was arranged as part of the ministry’s agreement with Asiana Airlines last year to evacuate South Korean nationals during overseas crises.
A day before, President Moon Jae-in ordered the Foreign Ministry to take measures to rescue Korean residents and travelers there, and consider sending chartered planes, during an emergency National Security Council meeting.
On Thursday, Korean Air also arranged a special flight to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali to transfer some 270 Koreans back to Seoul.
The international airport in Bali reopened Thursday to operate on weekdays. It had been closed since Monday after the Indonesian authorities raised the volcano alert to its highest level.
Two airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Korean Air, which offer direct flights to Bali out of Incheon Airport, will resume normal operations from Thursday evening, according to the ministry.
Since last week, Mount Agung in Bali has been showing signs of possible eruption, spewing clouds of dark gray ash and with lava seen welling up in its crater.
Nearly 1,000 South Korean tourists are believed to be stranded there.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)