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Storm disruptions trigger airport fury, havoc, exhaustion

April 2, 2014 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Passengers slept on airport floors, police turned out to quell revolts and hundreds of passengers found themselves locked inside a grounded plane when a massive storm disrupted flights around China and Hong Kong.

Newspapers in Hong Kong and China reported angry passengers going berserk at airports after the storm slammed into China and Hong at the weekend and continued into this week. When services at Guangzhou’s Baiyun Airport were disrupted, irate passengers destroyed computers and police had to call reinforcements to stop the uproar and destruction, the Hong Kong Standard reported.

Disgruntled passengers at Shenzhen airport went on the rampage, damaging facilities, overturning computers and scattering documents to vent their anger, the paper said.Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 20.22.39

The rampaging passengers did not include those on Dragonair flight KA875, an Airbus A330-300 which took off from Shanghai for Hong Kong with 252 passengers aboard but was diverted to nearby Shenzhen when Hong Kong was deluged by rain and hail.

A power failure stopped the flight, usually non-stop from Shanghai, from continuing on to Hong Kong when conditions improved. Passengers were forced to stay on the tarmac for seven hours, a spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific, which owns Dragonair, told news agency AFP.

As recently as last night, flight KA875 was showing as cancelled.

Passengers finished up stuck on the plane for hours at Shenzhen airport. On the tarmac, tension grew as passengers were barred from leaving the plane because the airport’s terminals were already full of stranded passengers.

“Angry passengers yelled at crew, who had to spend the night guarding the plane’s doors to stop them trying to break out,” the South China Morning Post reported.

At about 7am, a “special clearance” was obtained to let passengers off the plane, some 11 hours after departure.

Weary passengers were allowed into the airport – only to be told to make their own way to Hong Kong.

“We were told to … find our own way to Hong Kong without any travel allowance,” one traveller told the paper. Organisers of two large tour groups struggled to find transport back to Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority said 433 flights were delayed and 54 were cancelled as storms swept in from Sunday.

Cathay Pacific said its Hong Kong-bound flight CX831, with 256 passengers from New York, arrived after being forced to divert to Zhuhai on Sunday night.

When Cathay Pacific flight CX715 from Singapore to Hong Kong was delayed for eight hours overnight, passengers received snack vouchers worth about AUD 12.70 and had to sleep on the floor, reports said.

Written by Peter Needham

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