Friends cancel Bali trip over possible volcano eruption


PETALING JAYA: For several months, Penangite Rakhveer Singh Dhillon and his group of 10 friends have been planning a trip to Bali.

The 32-year-old businessman said they were supposed to take part in the Bali Hockey Festival, a six-a-side hockey festival organised by the Indonesian Hockey Federation.

However, eight of them had decided to put their five-day, four-night trip on hold, due to the possibility of the Mount Agung volcano erupting after 50 years of being dormant.

“The eight of us, myself included, have decided to pull out of this trip. Another four are still deciding.

“Why risk it? Yes, granted the volcano is 270km away from the villa we would have stayed at, and we would not have been affected. But can you imagine the chaos that would ensue at the airport?

“The phone lines might be down too. Our families back home will be worried as well. I do not want to take any chances,” he told FMT when contacted today.

Rakhveer and his friends have collectively spent over RM20,000 for their flights, accommodation, and registration fees for the hockey festival.

Those who have decided to pull out, Rakhveer said, are trying to either get refunds or change the dates on their flight tickets.

He said hockey players such as Baljit Charun, Jagvinder Singh and Perak Sikh Union president Gurjeet Singh Rhande were also going to participate in the festival.

“Gurjeet has said he will not be going there due to this (possible volcanic eruption),” he said.

Last Friday, the Indonesian authorities issued a high alert over the possibility of the volcano erupting. Residents in the surrounding areas have also been evacuated.

The Associated Press reported the Indonesian disaster agency as saying that some 75,000 residents around Mount Agung have left the area.

Meanwhile, several local airlines contacted by FMT today said there were no changes to their flight schedule.

A Malaysia Airlines spokesperson said they were closely monitoring the situation and would update passengers directly should there be any flight retimings or cancellations.

A spokesperson for Malindo Air said there were no changes to their flight schedule, but they were “definitely monitoring the situation”.

AirAsia issued a travel advisory stating that all its flights from and to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali are currently operating as per normal.

“We are closely monitoring the activity of Mount Agung in Bali and assessing flying conditions.

“We will continue to provide updates on the latest developments on Facebook and Twitter,” the advisory stated.

As for the foreign ministry, it had, according to Bernama, advised Malaysians in the vicinity of Mount Agung in Bali, to be cautious and obey the instructions of the Indonesian authorities.

The reminder follows a warning issued by local authorities following the possibility of a volcanic eruption.

“The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta and the Malaysian Honorary Consul in Bali are constantly monitoring the situation and have contacted Malaysians there (in Bali),” said the statement.

Malaysians can call the office of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta at +62-215224947 or +62-81380813036, while the Malaysian Honorary Consul in Bali can be reached at +62-36197318 or +62-81237154050 for assistance.