Passengers on a United Flight Were Stranded on a Freezing Plane for Over 14 Hours
Passengers on a United Airlines plane headed from Newark, New Jersey to Hong Kong got stranded on a frigidly cold plane in Canada for more than 14 hours this weekend when the flight had to make an emergency landing.
After leaving Newark on Saturday, Flight 179 was diverted to Goose Bay Airport in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador due to a medical emergency on board. The passenger was taken to a hospital upon landing in Goose Bay around 9:30 p.m. AST, CNN reports.
The plane was then meant to embark to Hong Kong once again, but a broken door prevented it from doing so. Since Goose Bay did not have a customs officer on duty overnight, passengers were forced to remain on board the flight while waiting for help.
As the hours passed, Sonjay Dutt—a professional wrestler and one of the flight’s passengers—began tweeting at United for help, describing the situation as an emergency.
“People are not doing well. Running low on food,” he tweeted. “It’s freezing, not safe for children and elderly.”
Outside temperatures dropped down to negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but still, the passengers waited on board. In the morning, Goose Bay officials brought Tim Horton’s snacks and water for everyone, and some passengers were taken in small groups to stretch their legs at customs.
“Cabin/flight crew have been excellent and very helpful,” said Lloyd Slade, another passenger, on Twitter. “(United HQ/dispatch, not so much.)”
After all of the waiting, a United rescue plane finally arrived. The entire flight was transferred to the alternate aircraft for passage back to Newark. According to Dutt, by the time the rescue plane took off, nearly 19 hours had passed since their arrival in Goose Bay.
Upon arriving in Newark Sunday evening, United provided the passengers with reimbursement for the flight, as well as compensation, hotel accommodations, and meals.
“We apologized to our customers for this experience,” United told Fortune in a statement. “Our crew and operations did everything possible to assist customers during the delay.”
United booked some passengers for flights on to Hong Kong, but others decided to just return home after the nearly two-day ordeal, CNN reports.
Dutt, the wrestler, was going to miss the event he had been heading to in Macau, so he booked a flight home to Virginia. That flight, of course, was delayed.