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Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish backpackers stranded in Bali for nine days as volcanic ash-cloud grounds flights

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 13/11/2015 | 17:55

Volcanic ash is seen during an eruption inside the crater of Mount Rinjani on the Indonesian island of Lombok October 25, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto
Volcanic ash is seen during an eruption inside the crater of Mount Rinjani on the Indonesian island of Lombok October 25, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto
Bali, Indonesia

An Irish woman and her boyfriend have found themselves trapped in Bali with very little money to live on after a volcano on a nearby island erupted and produced an ash-cloud that has grounded air travel.

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Before leaving Ireland two months ago, Ciara Kilfeather from Sligo and her boyfriend Shane took out a backpacker travel insurance policy with an Irish online insurance company.

Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok erupted on November 4 and has resulted in a large ash-cloud lingering over the region.

"We are more than a little upset that we aren't covered for this type of travel delay," she told RTE Radio One's Liveline.

"As backpackers we have very limited funds but we bought the insurance policy that we thought would best suit our needs.

"We opted for the backpacker policy because my understanding is that multi-trip policies only cover you for 30 days travel and we were planning to go for longer than that," Ciara said.

She explained that having unexpected extra time in the tropical paradise isn't as fun as it sounds, especially because they don't have much spending money left.

"We have to stay near to wi-fi in case we get a text or a phone call from our airline," she said.

"All I'm looking for is for the policy to be clear and state that ash-cloud related issues are not covered.

"It doesn't say that and if it did I wouldn't have bought it.

"From what I can gather backpackers can't get insurance for ash-cloud travel disruption," she said.

Ciara said that on a recent trip to the Gili Islands she noticed a large grey cloud looming over Bali.

She assumed it was rain but now she knows she was staring straight into the ash-cloud.

The #stuckinBali hashtag has gone viral with travelers stranded by volcanic ash sharing snippets of their tropical, glamorous ordeals.

The ash cloud is showing no signs of dissipating but wind conditions mean that when it blows away from the airport, some flights can arrive and depart from Denpasar Airport.

The online insurance company have been contacted by Independent.ie but have not provided a comment at the time of publishing.

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