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A major water main break at John F. Kennedy International airport in New York has led to a terminal evacuation and even more headaches at an airport already experiencing turmoil in the wake of Blizzard 2018. International travel was shut down as a result of the break.
As if it couldn’t get worse, videos show water filling the floor in front of stacks of passenger suitcases and bags. Some have dubbed the situation at JFK pure “chaos.” Wrote one frustrated man on Twitter, “JFK amazingly continues to find ways to create an even more miserable travel experience.”
Tensions at the airport continued to grow. “Police were called in to break up ‘disturbances’ caused by furious passengers who have been stranded at the John F Kennedy International for nearly two days as a terminal is evacuated due to flooding,” Daily Mail reported.
According to CNN, the water main break “flooded a baggage claim area at JFK International Airport in New York on Sunday afternoon, soaking stranded travelers’ luggage and shutting down down international fights into Terminal 4.”
Kennedy airport wrote on Twitter on January 7: “A water main break at Terminal 4 at JFK Airport has led to a shutdown of international flights into the terminal. Passengers are urged to contact their airlines for specific flight information.”
CNN noted that the water main break was just the latest in a series of problems causing headaches at the airport. “The water leak occurred at a bad time for the airport, which was jammed with frustrated travelers whose flights were delayed or canceled by the bitter cold that has gripped the East Coast,” reported CNN.
Around 2:30 p.m. on January 7, the airport tweeted, “@JFKairport Terminal 4 update: – No international arrivals at this time – International departures not affected – AirTrainJFK operating normally – Taxis rerouted to departure level – Traffic heavy into T4 – Passengers advised to contact their airline for flight status.”
JFK and LaGuardia were both briefly closed during the blizzard, which caused delays to many travelers. The Port Authority for New York and New Jersey described the problems in a tweet: “On Saturday 1/6/18 at @JFKAirport, there were 1,008 arrivals and departures, plus 94 canceled flights. Yesterday’s extreme cold, amid the ongoing recovery from Thursday’s storm, created a cascading series of issues for the airlines and terminal operators,” the authority wrote.
The problem moved from heavy snowfall to bitter wind chill by the weekend. The Port Authority continued to list the problems faced – and that was before the water main break: “These included frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages, and heavier than typical passenger loads. These challenges left passengers on planes for extensive periods, as the airlines and terminal operators experienced delays in getting aircraft in and out of gates. Many aircraft experienced long delays in reaching gates, particularly international flights at Terminals 1 and 4. The Port Authority provided buses to bring passengers to the terminal from 25 planes at Terminals 1 and 4.”
Some people were lucky enough to get off planes, but others were stuck.
It’s not clear how long there will be delays in the terminal affected by the water main break. You can follow JFK airport on Twitter here.