Chilean ash cloud grounds flights in Australia and New Zealand

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of passengers in Australia and New Zealand were stranded yesterday when airlines suspended flights as an ash cloud from an erupting volcano in southern Chile, about 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean, spread west. Australia's national carrier, Qantas, said all the airline's flights in and out of the southeastern city of Melbourne would be grounded.

Other carriers including Virgin Australia, JetStar and Tiger similarly suspended flights. Up to 30,000 passengers in New Zealand and Australia were stranded, according to airlines.