Frustrated passengers on a flight from Shanghai were locked inside a grounded plane overnight after a huge storm prevented them from landing in Hong Kong.
Flight KA875 jetted out of Shanghai airport on Sunday evening with 252 passengers on board but it was diverted to nearby Shenzhen when Hong Kong was deluged by heavy rain.
Despite the conditions improving, a power failure stopped the Dragonair plane from continuing on to its intended destination and travellers were forced to stay on the tarmac for seven hours.
Passengers were restrained from leaving the plane by cabin crew guarding the doors, as they attempted to leave to buy food or water when supplies ran low.
“They have only one 1.5 litre bottle of water to share among them,” a crew member’s friend told the South China Morning Post.
“They are being told they cannot leave the plane unattended and have to wait for replacement pilots.”
Cathay Pacific, which owns Dragonair, said in a statement: “The initial plan was to re-depart to Hong Kong as soon as the weather condition allowed. Regrettably, the delay was further extended when there were technical problems with the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit.
“We sincerely apologise that as Shenzhen is not an operating port for Dragonair, the deplaning process (took) longer than expected because of constraints in local ground handling and immigration clearance.”
A ‘special clearance’ was obtained Monday morning to let passengers alight, some 11 hours after departure.
Sunday’s storm saw Hong Kong authorities issue a ‘black’ rainstorm warning, the highest possible level, advising residents to shelter indoors and refrain from all travel.
More than 500 flights have been delayed since the storm began, according to the city’s Airport Authority.