Suffolk man and son stranded in Bali after airport closes amid volcano eruption fears

Windy Miller (left) with diving instructor Komang on the island of Bali. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Windy Miller (left) with diving instructor Komang on the island of Bali. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man has been left stranded with his son on Bali following the closure of the island’s international airport over fears of an imminent major volcano eruption.

Mount Agung in Bali. Picture: WINDY MILLER

Mount Agung in Bali. Picture: WINDY MILLER - Credit: Archant

Windy Miller, 52, from Hepworth, near Stanton, and son Aidan, 18, were on a diving trip when the volcano alert for Mount Agung was raised to its highest level – category four.

Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of ash into the atmosphere since the weekend with reports that the volcano’s explosions are being heard more than seven miles away.

Some 40,000 people have been moved away from the volcano with disruption to around 445 flights.

Mr Miller, who was staying in Kubu on the north side of the island, which is very close to the volcano, has now been evacuated to a hotel near Denpasar airport. He left the UK on November 20 and was due to fly home on Wednesday.

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Mr Miller said: “It had been spewing white smoke for a couple of days but yesterday there was a notable change and there was a lot more smoke and debris.

“I think everyone was concerned when it was moved up to a category four level, which is the highest, meaning there may be an imminent threat.

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“It’s very difficult for the locals as well, who are lovely people and tourism is their trade.

“There is a lot of gallows humour. People are trying to stay positive but are aware that this has the potential to be very serious indeed.”

Mr Miller, who runs Blue Wave Martial Arts classes in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, said it was currently a waiting game for the 30-strong diving party him and his son travelled with.

He said: “We wait to see what tomorrow brings. I’m looking forward to getting back to the UK, that’s for sure.”

If flights remain grounded, tourists could still leave Bali by taking a ferry from Gilimanuk port to Banyuwangi on Java island to the west and then travelling by car, train or plane to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, for international connections.

A spokeswoman for Scuba Travel, operators for the trip, said: “We are of course in constant touch with our guests currently delayed in Bali.

“Due to the current wind direction the airport is closed. We are hoping this will change within the next 24 hours and flights will start operating again.

“Obviously this is a fluid situation and the safety and comfort of our guests is our highest priority.”

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