A medical emergency forced a United Airlines flight to land in remote Newfoundland, Canada, Saturday, but it was a broken door that left the passengers and crew stranded in frigid temperatures for more than 15 hours.
United Airlines Flight 179 departed from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport Saturday afternoon bound for Hong Kong but was diverted to a Canadian military base in Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, so a passenger aboard the aircraft could receive medical treatment.
According to CNN, the plane landed in Goose Bay at 9:31 p.m. Medical personnel met the aircraft and transported a passenger to a hospital. However, when the flight was about to resume, a mechanical problem was discovered that grounded the airplane.
Passengers were unable to depart the airplane because there were no customs agents at the airport during the overnight hours. The flight remained grounded as temperatures dropped to minus 20 degrees below zero outside and workers attempted to repair the emergency exit door near the right wing.
Unfortunately for the passengers and crew aboard the United Airplanes jet, the repairs couldn’t be completed in a timely manner, so everyone had to remain onboard overnight and into the next day as they waited for a replacement airplane to arrive from Newark.
Some passengers took to Twitter to express their concern about the situation with cold temperatures and little food.
Finally got off plane, got on a bus and now waiting to be taken to new rescue plane to fly back to Newark. 16hours since we landed in Goose Bay. pic.twitter.com/nBb0zKwOba
— SONJAY (@sonjaydutterson) January 20, 2019
On Sunday morning, Goose Bay officials boarded the stranded airplane with donuts and coffee as crew members tried to keep the passengers as comfortable as possible.
The relief airplane arrived at Goose Bay Sunday afternoon. Passengers and luggage were transferred to the new plane, and it took off back to Newark at 3:05 p.m. The plane landed in Newark at 6:00 p.m. United Airlines rebooked the passengers on a Monday flight to Hong Kong and put them up in a hotel in Newark Sunday night.