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Argentine ash cloud closes South American airports

Argentine ash cloud closes South American airports

South America has become the latest victim of volcanic ash, with airports in Argentina and neighbouring Uruguay forced to close following a volcanic eruption in Chile.

The Puyehue Volcano – dormant for decades – erupted over the weekend, sending a plume of ash over the Andes and disrupting air traffic in South America for days.

Dozens of flights have been cancelled, airport officials said, with airports across the region closed.

“Due to the movement over the Buenos Aires metropolitan area of a new ash cloud from the Puyehue volcano, flights (to and from) the Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports have been cancelled,” authorities said in a statement.

Buenos Aires is a key aviation hub for South America, offering dozens of flights to other countries in the region.

Many departures to Europe and the United States are also routed through the Argentine city.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was unable to rise above the ash cloud, forcing the suspension of a visit to Buenos Aires.

The Bariloche ski resort in southern Argentina was coated in ash, with guests urged to stay indoors.

The Montevideo airport was also shut because ash fanned by the wind darkened the skies in the South American nation.