'Get us out': Air Transat plane on tarmac for 6 hours, passenger calls 911

An Air Transat passenger called 911 after a Montreal-bound flight was diverted to Ottawa Monday, forcing travellers to stay inside the plane for hours as it waited on the tarmac.

Passengers allege they didn’t have enough food, water or air conditioning until the 911 call was made. Many expressed their frustration and anger on social media.

The transatlantic flight from Brussels was scheduled to land in Montreal at approximately 3 p.m. on Monday. But, after circling the airport for a while due to poor weather conditions, the pilot landed in Ottawa instead, CTV Montreal’s Stephane Giroux reported.

After the plane touched down at approximately 5 p.m., it sat on the tarmac for about six hours, passengers say.

Ottawa Police confirmed that someone called 911 from the tarmac at about 9:20 p.m., and said that the plane had lost electricity and there was no air conditioning. At some point, they said, an officer boarded the plane, but decided that the situation was not a police matter and there was no emergency that required further investigation. 

After the 911 call, airplane doors were opened to allow air circulation and more water was distributed to passengers. The plane eventually took off and landed in Montreal around 11:30 p.m. Monday.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Air Transat said that more than 30 flights from different airlines had been diverted to Ottawa Monday because of “violent” thunderstorms in Montreal.

“As a result, Ottawa airport staff were unable to provide with loading bridges or stairs that would have enabled the passengers on the Brussels flight to disembark or our ground crews to replenish the aircraft’s empty drinking water reservoir,” the airline said, adding that a fuel shortage also resulted in the lack of air conditioning.

“We sincerely regret the inconveniences for our passengers caused by this situation that was beyond our control,” the statement said.

With files from CTV Montreal and CTV National News’ Ottawa bureau

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