‘It’s really inhuman’: Airplane passengers call 911 during 6-hour wait on tarmac


If you fly regularly, you probably have at least one story of a particularly grueling flight delay. But the story of these passengers likely has yours beat.

Air Transat flight 157 from Brussels was scheduled to arrive in Montreal at 3:15 p.m. ET Monday, but was diverted to Ottawa due to thunderstorms, according to CBC News. After eight hours of flying, the plane landed at the Ottawa airport just after 5 p.m.

Then it sat on the tarmac for six hours, multiple outlets and the passengers reported.

During that time, the passengers said the air conditioning and lights were shut off, food was only given to children and at least one passenger started vomiting. Passenger Maryanne Zéhil told the Montreal Gazette that the aircraft was so hot some of them had difficulty breathing.

Eventually, one passenger called 911 – but the paramedics told the passengers there was nothing they could do, but they did hand out water. One passenger posted a video to Twitter of airline employees demanding whoever called 911 to report themselves.

“The plane actually lost power and went zero AC [air conditioning], and then now we’ve got the doors open and one kid is puking, and people are just losing their minds,” Laura Mah told CBC. “They’re just getting mad, saying ‘This is not all right, this is not OK, you can’t do this to us.’ The police are in here and the fire department’s in here and they’re telling us that they can’t do anything, that we just have to stay put.”

Some passengers started tweeting at Air Transat, and the airline responded by blaming the bad weather and the airport.

However, the airport responded to a complaint by Mah on social media that the decision not to deplane passengers was made by the airline.

CBC News later reported that Air Transat said it couldn’t deplane passengers because of the high volume of planes diverted to Ottawa, and the air conditioning and lights were off because the plane was waiting to refuel. It said in a statement that it was sorry for the inconvenience “beyond our control.”

The flight left the Ottowa airport at 11 p.m., according to the CBC, landing in Montreal around 11:30 p.m.



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