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Passengers in 12-hour tarmac ordeal

Hundreds of angry passengers have said they endured a 28-hour overseas flight which included 12 hours on a tarmac in the Middle East without food or proper information.

Tempers grew short on Etihad Airways Flight 183 when fog in the city of Abu Dhabi delayed take-off for half a day, passengers who landed in San Francisco early today told broadcaster KGO.

"They kept telling us that we were going to leave, you know 15 minutes from now, 20 minutes from now, 30 minutes for now, for 12 hours," Thomas Piani said.

Passengers said the flight crew told them the Abu Dhabi airport was too crowded with other stranded flights to allow them to get off the plane to wait.

"Everybody was fighting with each other and the flight attendants were fighting with us, and we were fighting with the flight attendants," Venkatesh Pahwa said.

Etihad, a national airline of the United Arab Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi, said on its website that fog had delayed flights and caused airport congestion.

The airline apologised for travellers' inconvenience but said the delays were beyond its control.

The airline said today "unprecedented fog" delayed flights and caused airport congestion and Flight 183 was one of the planes most affected.

"The passengers remained on the aircraft as all efforts were being made to secure a new departure time. The delay was then compounded by the requirement to replace the aircraft's ultra-long haul operating crew who had exceeded their flight time limitations," a statement by the airline said.


From Belfast Telegraph