Ottawa Airport 911 call

Desperate Passengers Dial 911 After Hours On A Plane

Admin Airplanes, Flex Air News

Flying is stressful enough for most people that, upon arrival at their destination, the thing they want most is to feel the earth beneath their feet.

For passengers aboard an international flight at Ottawa International Airport, Ontario, Canada, without food, water, and air conditioning, calling 911 was the only reasonable reaction. Both the airline and the airport dispute the accounts given by the passengers.

The Air Transat plane was diverted to Ottawa due to bad weather and sat idling on the tarmac for almost four hours, forcing passengers to call the police.

Air Transat says the situation was “beyond our control,” and that “exceptional traffic” at the airport resulted in a shortage of stairs or loading bridges to enable passengers aboard the plane to disembark or to refill the carrier‘s water reserve. The airline also alleges said the “shortage of fuel” caused a “lack of air conditioning on board for a time.”

Laura Mah, one of the passengers on Flight 157 that had originated in Brussels, Belgium, said passengers were taken aback by the airline’s unresponsiveness.

“People started getting really frustrated. We got updates at the beginning, but then eventually they just stopped,” she said. “Other passengers were very uncomfortable, hot and just wanted answers. We just kept getting the message that we needed to wait and the plane needed to refuel.”

“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.

“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,” she said.

After a while, Mah said, police were able to board the plane and distribute water to passengers.

“I’m super pissed,” Mah said. “I’m just really hot, I’m sweating, and I haven’t eaten. … I’m hungry and they only rationed the food to give little snacks to kids, which is good. Luckily, they started bringing in bottles of water from the outside, like 45 minutes ago, but no food. I’m starving.”

The 911 calls resulted in a “full emergency response,” which included the arrival of the Airport Emergency Response Service, the Ottawa Paramedic Services and the Ottawa Police Service, the airport said. Police allegedly treated one passenger, but the cause of the distress was unclear.

The Ottawa Airport was unhappy with the airline’s reaction, and airport staff were supposedly “ready to assist upon request.”

“We had a gate available and air stairs ready in the event that the airline decided to deplane. We also had buses on the tarmac ready to shuttle passengers to the terminal — buses the authority purchased specifically for situations such as this,” airport officials said. “Neither the ground handling service nor the airline requested either of these during the event.”

Twenty other Air Transat flights due in Toronto and Montreal on Monday were diverted to Ottawa Airport as a result of the bad weather, the airline said. There were fifteen international flights with nearly 5,000 passengers.