Not by Fire but by Ice
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Chile volcanic ash strands 30,000 in Australia and NZMarooned passengers scramble for hotel rooms
Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger also suspended flights as the ash cloud from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano threatened to damage aircraft engines.
Most of the aircraft stranded are on the Melbourne to Sydney route, considered the fourth busiest in the world.
Strong winds have carried the ash clouds 9,400km (5,800 miles) across the
Pacific to New Zealand since the Chilean volcano erupted more than a week ago.
This is the first such event in the Southern Hemisphere since 1991, said Dr Andrew Tupper, head of Australia's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). "It's pretty major."
The ash cloud has "a very strong satellite signal and it's right up there with the big, big eruption clouds," said Tupper. "It will keep going. I would suspect it will do a loop of the globe."
Track the ash cloud here.
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