250 United Airlines passengers suffer 16-hour ordeal, freezing at Canadian tarmac

 Tuesday, January 22, 2019 


A medical emergency and a mechanical problem left 250 passengers on a United Airlines flight stuck for about 16 hours on the freezing tarmac of a Canadian airport. United Flight 179 had taken off late Saturday from Newark, New Jersey en route to Hong Kong.



When a passenger suffered a medical problem the plane made an emergency landing at Goose Bay airport in Newfoundland and Labrador province, on Canada’s east coast. The ailing passenger was taken to the hospital by paramedics. That should have ended the matter. However, the ordeal was yet to start. The plane was unable to take off, reportedly because bitterly cold temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) had caused a door to freeze.



With no customs officers on duty overnight, passengers were forced to stay on board, and shiver under the thin blankets handed out by flight attendants. The plane was under-heated.




With food and water running short roughly 10 hours into the ordeal, officials finally arrived to deliver supplies from the Tim Hortons fast-food chain known in Canada for its coffee and doughnuts. The arrival of the food and coffee was not enough to appease increasingly angry passengers.



The passengers were transferred to the relief plane by bus on Sunday morning. The plane will take off mid-afternoon to take them back to Newark; bringing an end to a long day.



Much of eastern Canada, as well as the US northeast, has been suffering through a glacial cold spell, with heavy snowfalls that have led to scores of flight cancellations.



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