Volcanic ash causes air traffic chaos in Europe
The volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier sends ash into the air Friday, April 16, 2010. Thick drifts of volcanic ash blanketed parts of rural Iceland on Friday as a vast, invisible plume of grit drifted over Europe, emptying the skies of planes and sending hundreds of thousands in search of hotel rooms, train tickets or rental cars. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
An ash cloud spewing from the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland continued to affect air travel across Europe Friday, leading to the closure of many airports and the cancellation of thousands of flights.
After at least nine countries announced the closure of airspaces as a preventive measure on Thursday, Switzerland on Friday announced the closure of its airspace as the ash cloud approached, the official Swissinfo.ch news website reported.
The ban began at midnight, when the ash was expected to arrive over Switzerland, and would remain in force until Saturday morning, the civil aviation office was quoted by the website as saying.
The only planes still allowed to fly are those on search and rescue missions, the office said, adding that it was monitoring the situation closely and would decide later whether to extend the ban.
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