Chaos at airport after typhoon hits city
HORDES of angry passengers stranded after Typhoon Nida pummelled Hong Kong crowded the airport yesterday, desperately seeking flights as the city emerges from lockdown while the storm swept across southern China.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools and shops were shut, and the stock market closed for the day as the storm brought violent winds and torrential showers.
Gusts of 151 kilometres (94 miles) per hour whipped the city and rain lashed down during the night, leaving three people injured and a trail of fallen trees and torn-down scaffolding.
The storm triggered a Typhoon 8 signal – the third-strongest category – which was taken down a notch around midday yesterday as winds eased and the typhoon passed onto mainland China.
But as the city’s deserted streets began to come to life as buses and train services resumed, Chek Lap Kok airport was inundated with stranded passengers.
An airport authority spokesperson said only 500 flights would run between 6am and midnight yesterday. On a normal day, the airport would handle 1100 flights.
More than 150 flights were cancelled on August 1 as Nida approached, leaving stranded passengers to sleep on the floor in the departure hall.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair cancelled all of their flights in and out of Hong Kong for 16 hours.
Security guards kept passengers without flights from reaching checkin desks yesterday.
Some complained that airline staff had not given them food vouchers or emergency accommodation despite lengthy waits.
“The airline was giving incon-
sistent information. There was no announcement whatsoever about accommodation, food or the weather situation. It’s chaotic,” one passenger told local channel TVB.
Another passenger from the Philippines said he had not been provided with food or accommodation, despite being at the airport since 7pm on August 1. His flight was rescheduled for 10pm yesterday.
After sweeping past Hong Kong, Nida made landfall early yesterday in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, with winds still blowing at up to 151kph. –
Passengers queue up as they wait to find out the status of their flights after Typhoon Nida caused chaos at the international airport in Hong Kong yesterday.