Calbuco in Chile has erupted for the first time in over 40 years, causing flight cancellations in the area.
The government declared a state of catastrophe in the area surrounding the Calbuco Volcano, about 960 kilometers (600 miles) south of Santiago, after two eruptions in the past 15 hours. Smoke and ash were blown 11 kilometers into the sky, geology service Sernageomin said in its Twitter account.
Flights to the southern city of Puerto Montt remained suspended Thursday, Latam Airlines SA said in an e-mailed statement. Wind is carrying ash from the eruption over the Andes to the Argentine city of Villa Angostura, according to pictures on Sernageomin’s Twitter account.
Volcanic eruptions are serious business for flights. Ash can cause engines to fail, but it is extremely difficult for pilots to tell the difference between ash and regular clouds.
In 2010, I was running events for my company, and a lot of our attendees were international.
While I was prepping for our event (which was just about six years ago, this month!), Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland erupted. Half our attendees hadn’t left for the US yet, the other half were already here.
The ones who were here had no way to leave after the event.
This caused mild chaos in the DC area. There were many international events going on in DC at the time, so many Europeans were stuck.
Our European attendees weren’t able to get home for over a week after their original flights home. That is, those who made it.
The rest missed the multi-date event entirely.
The ones who were stranded struggled to find housing. Rooms were getting scooped up for more than $500 a night for places like the Holiday Inn. Luckily, some of the non-international participants offered space to the international ones.
It was incredible to think that in this day and age, mother nature could shut down air travel for so long.
Here’s a shot of the current volcanic ash culprit: