Mount Merapi erupts, spews ash 5500 metres into the sky

The volcano started to erupt at at 7:32 AM EST with the thick plume of smoke reaching a height of 5,500m above the summit

Officials have shuttered the city's worldwide airport with two dozen flights cancelled following the eruption, which began around 7.30am (12.30 GMT).

Nugroho said Adi Sucipto airport in Yogyakarta was closed for about one hour due to the spread of volcanic ash.

The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has assured that Merapi's status remains "normal", and that the agency would continue to monitor the eruption, Sutopo said. "The people have responded it", he told Xinhua in a text message.

"AirAsia strongly encourages all guests to update their contact details at airasia.com to ensure that they are notified of any updates to their flights", AirAsia said in a statement on Friday.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 240 million folks, is liable to earthquakes and volcanic exercise as a result of it sits alongside the Pacific "Ring of Hearth", a horseshoe-shaped sequence of fault traces.

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The 9,737-foot mountain between Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes.

He added there was no indication of increased volcanic activity in the run up to the eruption.

Indonesian motorists commute along an ash-covered road after Mount Merapi erupted, in Sleman, Indonesia, on May 11, 2018.

The volcanic ash and gases spewed can be risky to planes passing through the plume.

The plane dropped for nearly four miles before the pilot was able to restart three engines and make an emergency landing in Jakarta.

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