by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) Aug 7, 2012
A volcanic eruption at New Zealand's Mount Tongariro spewed out an ash cloud 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) high, disrupting flights and closing highways, officials said Tuesday.
The volcano, in the middle of North Island, erupted just before midnight (1200 Monday GMT), the first significant activity at the site since 1897, the official monitoring body GNS Science said.
Police said witnesses reported "flame-like explosions and a cloud of ash coming from a new hole in the side of the mountain".
"I could see this big cloud, it looked like a fist, basically, at an angle across the sky," truck driver Bryn Rodda told Radio New Zealand. "At about the wrist section of the fist there was an orange ball of flash that I saw."
Police said they had no reports of injuries or damage but would check huts in the remote area which are used as shelter by hikers.
While Civil Defence did not order any evacuations, it advised residents beneath the cloud to stay indoors with windows and doors sealed.
Air New Zealand said domestic flights to Gisborne, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier and Palmerston North were affected.
"We will not fly through ash and are constantly taking guidance from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and the MetService to ensure we can continue to carry passengers where safe routes and altitudes are available," the airline said in a statement.
The CAA said international flights were not expected to be disrupted, as they cruised above 20,000 feet.
Police said several highways in North Island were initially closed due to poor visibility and reopened Tuesday morning.
GNS Science volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said the volcano was being closely monitored.
"This eruption caught us by surprise. We've been monitoring the area after earthquakes, but we didn't expect this," he tld TVNZ.
"This might just be a quiet period and we should expect it to start again at any time. So we are watching things very closely."
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Hong Kong Airlines plays down growth ban
Hong Kong (AFP) Aug 6, 2012
Hong Kong Airlines Monday played down the impact on its business of an unprecedented aviation authority ban on expanding further until it meets all safety requirements for operating a larger fleet. The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) on July 17 added a condition to the carrier's air operator's certificate limiting the types of aircraft the company could operate. "With a very rapid expans ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|