Ash from Turrialba Volcano leads to temporary closure of Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria airport

12 March 2015 (Last Updated March 12th, 2015 18:30)

Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria International Airport has been forced to shut down until at least 8am local time (14:00 GMT) on Friday as the ash from the erupting Turrialba Volcano reached the capital, disrupting the airport's operations.

Costa Rica's Juan Santamaria International Airport has been forced to shut down until at least 8am local time (14:00 GMT) on Friday as the ash from the erupting Turrialba Volcano reached the capital, disrupting the airport's operations.

Located around 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the volcano, the airport had to suspend numerous flights due to poor visibility.

The Tico Times reported that a total of seven flights had to be grounded, while three other aircrafts, two Copa flights and one FedEx cargo flight, remained circling in the air and were unable to land as of 5pm local time.

It was reported that the Turrialba Volcano erupted three times on Thursday morning and early afternoon. Although the crater is 67kms away from the capital, the ash from the eruption was carried by winds, which then dusted cars and homes, restricting visibility.

Considered to be one of Costa Rica's largest volcanoes, Turrialba has three craters and has had at least five large explosive eruptions in the past 3500 years.

Sputnik News quoted airport spokeswoman Silvia Chavez as saying that the re-opening of the airport would depend on the overnight activity of the volcano.

The public security ministry's air surveillance service were quoted by the Tico Times as saying that ash could be dangerous for aircrafts as it could lead to poor visibility and also interfere with the plane's jets or propellers.

Costa Rica's National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Management, which called the volcano's Thursday activity as the most powerful since 1996, has already launched an evacuation in several settlements in the Turrialba Volcano region, reported Sputnik News.