Passenger plane flies for 13 hours but lands at the same airport it took off from
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Featured Image Credit: Emirates/Facebook/aviationbrk
Passengers were forced to turn back to the airport they took off from after 13 hours in the air, thanks to severe flooding in New Zealand’s largest city.
Emirates flight EK448 left Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 10.30am on Friday 27 January, and headed to Auckland, New Zealand.
The plane was due to land at its destination 16 hours - and 9,000 miles - later, but it met an issue when Auckland Airport was closed after the city was battered with torrential rain and flooding, which has killed several people.
After 13 hours, the flight eventually had to turn back, with FlightAware data showing the plane returned to Dubai International Airport just after midnight on Saturday.
UNILAD has reached out to Emirates for comment.
Auckland airport had to close its airport and cancel domestic and international flights after rain left travellers stuck inside the terminal buildings wading through knee-deep flood water.
In a statement it said: “Auckland Airport has been assessing the damage to our international terminal and unfortunately determined that no international flights can operate today.
“We know this is extremely frustrating but the safety of passengers is our top priority.”
Auckland Airport reopened to domestic flights at lunchtime on Saturday, before international flights resumed on Sunday morning.
Apologising to those affected by the closure, airport Chief Executive Carrie Hurihanganui said it had been a ‘really long and challenging night’.
"Our teams, and those of our airport partners, continue to work around the clock to make sure we can get our domestic and international terminal operations open safely as soon as possible," she said.
New Zealand’s north island has been hit by heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides since Friday, with officials declaring a state of emergency after Auckland received the amount of rain it would have all summer in one single day.
The death toll rose to four after a man who went missing when he was swept away in Onewhero, a village 70km south of Auckland, was confirmed to have died.
The state of emergency has now been lifted, but Mayor Wayne Brown has warned that dangerous weather is due to return tomorrow.
“My team's current focus and our big worry is that some Aucklanders might think the worse is behind us, but it isn't,” he told press, adding: “That's nothing like Friday night, but the ground is so saturated and the drains are so full that if anything, it could be more dangerous than even Friday."
Brown said the downfall was ‘by far the biggest’ in the city’s history, and that it was ‘well beyond’ levels emergency services could have ‘imagine or planned for’.
A statement from MetService, New Zealand’s weather forecaster, said: “This rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities.”
Topics: News, World News, Travel, Climate Change, New Zealand
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