SYDNEY Aug 29 A volcanic eruption in Papua New
Guinea on Friday sent smoke and ash spewing high over the South
Pacific island nation, leading some aircraft to alter their
Mount Tavurvur on East New Britain Island erupted hours
before dawn, a bulletin from the Rabaul Volcanological
There have been no reports of injuries.
Qantas said that it was altering the path of a
handful of international flights in the area, but that it would
add only about five minutes to their scheduled time.
"Flight paths between Sydney and Narita (Tokyo) and Sydney
and Shanghai have been altered as a result of the volcanic ash
cloud over Rabaul in eastern Papua New Guinea," Qantas
spokeswoman Sarah Algar told Reuters.
"The QF21, QF22 and QF130 will now fly over central Papua
New Guinea to avoid the cloud."
Authorities have not issued an evacuation order for the town
closest to the volcano, Rabaul, which was destroyed in 1994
during a previous but more severe eruption.
"People still live here, we have to get on with our daily
lives," Rabaul Hotel employee Susie McGrade told Australia's ABC
"We're up on the rooves, cleaning off the ash, we've got to
save our property, try and get back to normal, so what can we
do? We've got no where else to go."
Iceland issued its highest alert level for a volcano on
Friday. Bardarbunga started rumbling about a week ago,
signalling trouble for air travel in northern Europe. In 2010,
an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano closed much of
Europe's airspace for six days.
(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)