April 24, 2015 / 2:27 AM / 5 years ago

Costa Rica closes San Jose airport due to volcanic ash

A cameraman films the Turrialba Volcano from San Gerardo de Irazu April 5, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Authorities in Costa Rica temporarily closed the airport in the capital city San Jose on Thursday after the eruption of the Turrialba volcano, the company which operates the airport said.

The volcano spewed gas and ash over various parts of San Jose, some 31 miles (50 km) from Turrialba, including the Juan Santamaria International Airport. Ash can affect the safety of flights during takeoff and landing.

“The airport will be closed until midnight (0600 GMT),” a spokeswoman for Aeris, which operates the airport, said, adding that 18 flights have been cancelled so far.

Families living near the volcano were evacuated in March after the biggest eruption in two decades. That event also forced the airport to close, affecting more than a hundred flights.

Reporting by Enrique Pretel; Writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Alan Crosby

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