An ash plume continues to drift throughout the continent, disrupting flights across a large part of South America and forcing a Qantas flight to Santiago to return to Sydney hours into its flight.
Chile’s Calbuco volcano caused more alarm early Friday morning (local time) when it emitted a large puff of smoke, but a predicted third eruption following two explosive events this week is yet to materialise.
A statement on the Qantas website said it would review the situation in consultation with the Department of Meteorology.
In Buenos Aires, on the other side of the continent, American Airlines, United, Delta and Air France all cancelled flights to and from Europe and the United States.
Argentina’s National Weather Service said the volcanic particles covered “the entire central zone of the country,” including the capital and several other major cities.
The volcano burst into life for the first time in 54 years with two eruptions mid-week, forcing 4,500 people to evacuate as it belched a huge cloud of ash into the air before lighting up the night sky with fiery bursts of lava and volcanic lightning. Authorities said that if current conditions held, residents would be allowed to return home for a few hours in the afternoon to retrieve some belongings after fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
There have been no reports of injuries so far, but officials warned the ash could be harmful for people, animals, crops and infrastructure.
Image courtesy of Averall