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Passengers stuck on island after plane diverted told to be grateful they didn’t crash

Passengers stuck on island after plane diverted told to be grateful they didn’t crash

The flight from Ghana to New York had to be diverted to the Terceira Islands off Portugal

Passengers on a plane that was diverted have claimed that they were told to be grateful their flight didn't crash.

On Friday (8 September) Delta Air Lines Flight 157 from Ghana to New York - which was carrying 200 people - was diverted to Terceira, a Portuguese island in the Atlantic, due to 'mechanical issue with a backup oxygen system'.

During their time at Lajes Airport, passengers alleged they were not permitted to leave the airport due to not having the requisite visa documentation.

Passengers have since claimed that Delta staff did nothing to advocate for them, while airport workers reportedly treated them like 'encroaching roaches'.

Delta Air Lines Flight 157 was forced to divert due to 'mechanical issue with a backup oxygen system'.
Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Passenger Nana Asante-Smith wrote on Facebook: “We were directed to a partitioned section of the building without access to freely move around the airport because those with Ghanaian passports did not have the requisite visas.

"The crew members were shuttled to a hotel, not to be seen again.

"From that point, we never heard from or saw a Delta representative in any official capacity. We only interacted with representatives for the airport at Lajes Airport/Base."

She added that they had a 'reckless disregard for human life and well-being'.

Initially the airport had prepared to provide some food, however, Nana claimed that they had subsequently withdrawn the offer after learning that passengers had been fed hours earlier.

Passengers took to social media to get the attention of Delta while stuck at the airport.

She said: “We learned that we would no longer be fed, because according to an airport representative, Delta had informed them that we had already eaten in advance of our landing, a little before 6 a.m. We had no other access to food.”

Eventually the passengers were presented with ham sandwiches - but even this created a problem for many.

Nana explained: "Anyone who is intimately familiar with West Africa or our Muslim brothers and sisters know that many people have dietary restrictions with eating pork.”

After being left with no one from the airline to help, there was a question of who was to take responsibility for the exhausted passengers. This led to many taking to social media to get the attention of Delta.

Kiaundra Eggleston tweeted a video which showed the member of airport staff speaking to the stranded passengers.

Kiaundra said: "This female rep told us we should be grateful that they allowed us to be here, and our plane didn’t crash in the sea."

According to Nana, they had to wait 12 hours before another flight was provided and they could compete their return journey.

After they arrrived in New York, passengers were told the airline was 'overwhelmed'.
Getty/ NurPhoto / Contributor

Passengers subsequently tried to raise the issue with Delta after finally arriving in New York, only to be told that the company was 'overwhelmed'.

In a statement, Delta Air Lines said refunds and an 'additional gesture of goodwill' have since been provided to the passengers.

The company told The Independent: “Delta flight 157 from Accra to New York-JFK diverted to Lajes Airport following a mechanical issue with a backup oxygen system. The crew descended to a lower altitude our of an abundance of caution during the diversion and the aircraft landed safely.

“An alternate aircraft was dispatched from Lisbon to help our customers more quickly get to their final destinations while the original aircraft was repaired by maintenance technicians. We apologize to our customers for the delay in their travels.”

UNILAD has reached out to Lajes Airport for comment and to Delta Airlines for further comment.

Featured Image Credit: X/@KiaundraSmith / Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Topics: News, World News, Travel