Air New Zealand flight diverts to Guam to avoid volcanic eruption

Smoke is seen rising from the crater of Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu Island in Yakushima, Kagoshima Prefecture on Feb. 3, 2020. (Image from a Japan Meteorological Agency monitoring camera)

A volcanic eruption forced an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to make an unscheduled stop on Guam yesterday afternoon in order to avoid ash in its flight path.

New Zealand media report that NZ99 was en-route to Narita but was forced to stop and refuel on Guam in order to fly around the  Kuchinoerabu-jima volcano which erupted early Monday morning.

The volcano is on Kuchinoerabu island which has a population of about 100 people. No injuries are reported from the eruption.

However, the Japanese meteorological agency reports that volcanic fumes reached a height of about 23,000 feet.

The small volcanic island is located northeast of Okinawa and just south of Kyushu.

The Air New Zealand flight landed in Narita shortly after 6 p.m Monday without incident.