Mt Ruang eruption: Air travellers in Kuching stranded as flights cancelled

KUCHING: Hundreds of passengers have been stranded at Kuching International Airport on Thursday (April 18) as flights were cancelled due to the eruption of Mount Ruang in Indonesia.

Long queues were seen at the check-in counters and airline offices as passengers tried to rebook their flights.

Former Mas Gading MP Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe was supposed to fly to Kuala Lumpur on a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight at 10.05am.

"When I went to the counter to take my boarding pass, I was told that the flight was cancelled because there was a volcanic eruption somewhere in Indonesia.

"So I went to the MAS office and there were a lot of people there already," he said when met.

Dr Tiki said he supported MAS' decision to cancel its flights as it was best not to take chances.

"This is a natural disaster so we cannot say anything. MAS is the best, they take care lof our safety first," he said, adding that his meeting in Kuala Lumpur was now postponed to May 2.

Mohd Amirul Othman came to the airport at 7am but only found out shortly after 11am that his Batik Air flight to Kuala Lumpur at 11.15am was cancelled.

"Now I'm just standing by at the airport. It's a natural disaster that we did not expect. I'm disappointed but safety comes first.

"I wouldn't dare to fly now anyway as I understand the risk," he said.

Najwa Illiana, who came back to Kuching for Hari Raya, said she did not know when her family of five would be able to get another flight.

"Our flight was supposed to be at 1.55pm but we found out after arriving at the airport that it was cancelled because of the volcanic eruption," she said.

Azlan Hateem Abdollah said he was not sure whether he and his wife could get another flight to Kuala Lumpur before Sunday.

He said they were informed by Batik Air that the flights on Friday and Saturday were already full.

"At the moment, we don't know what's happening so we're just queuing up.

"It's a bit troublesome because it affects our work schedule.

"We came back for Raya, so it looks like we will have to continue our Raya celebration," he said.

Opar assemblyman Billy Sujang said his son's cancelled flight had been rescheduled to Sunday.

"We knew about the cancellation of the flight early this morning. It affects a lot of people, we can see a lot of passengers waiting at the airport who need to reconfirm their flights," he said.

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