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Water leak floods JFK Airport baggage claim, forces evacuation

07 January 2018

Extreme cold and ongoing recovery from Thursday's brutal winter storm that snarled air traffic to the airport "created a cascading series of issues for the airlines and terminal operators over the weekend", the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which manages the airport, said in a statement earlier Sunday.

A water main break Sunday afternoon at Kennedy Airport was causing flight delays, according to the airport. Some of those had been stuck on the ground for several hours. "Where's my bed", one flier vented in a tweet Sunday morning.

Passengers complained of being stranded on the tarmac for hours and then facing lengthy delays in baggage claim that made traveling, particularly with babies or the elderly, a misery.

"Mood is getting mutinous at the gate". Others awaiting a departure spent the night sleeping on terminal floors, photos showed.

The temperature was around 15 degrees when the flooding started about 1:30 p.m.

The continuing chaos at the airport drew harsh condemnation from Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat of NY, who called Sunday for "a thorough review" of the airport and the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey to find out what went wrong, especially since Thursday's storm had not come as a surprise.

"Yesterday's extreme cold, amid the ongoing recovery from Thursday's storm, created a cascading series of issues for the airlines and terminal operators", Port Authority wrote.

"These included frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages, and heavier than typical passenger loads", the statement said.

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, in a tweet, said that the right wing of the Chinese aircraft grazed the tail end of the Kuwait Airways vessel, causing damages to both the planes on Saturday.

No injuries were reported when the China plane clipped the Kuwaiti plane, and passengers were "safely deplaned", said Alana Calmi, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority, which runs the region's major airports.

Terminal 4 is "the major gateway for worldwide arrivals at JFK airport". Calmi called the collision "minor".

JFK had closed down on Thursday at 11 am when the storm hit and reopened on Friday at 7 am. Tracking site Flightradar24 said at least 12 worldwide flights had been waiting, around two to four hours, for a gate to deplane. The US National Weather Service has warned that below normal temperatures are likely to continue into early next week.

Water leak floods JFK Airport baggage claim, forces evacuation