Flight from Newark stuck on freezing tarmac for 16 hours

January 21, 2019 - 8:23 am

NEWARK (1010 WINS) – A series of unfortunate events led to a nightmare for hundreds of passengers aboard a flight out of New Jersey. 

United Flight 179 was safely back in Newark on Monday after being stranded on a tarmac in Canada for 16 hours in subzero temperatures.

The Hong Kong-bound plane took off Saturday but had to be diverted to a snowy airport in Newfoundland after a passenger had two seizures.

Medical personnel rushed that passenger to a hospital, but the situation went downhill from there.

The plane tried to take off again, but it was so cold a mechanical problem developed with the plane’s doors and there was no mechanic to fix it.

Instead of getting off the plane to stretch their legs, passengers remained on board for 16 hours.

Turns out no one was allowed off the plane because no customs officials were on duty to screen them.

Passengers said the crew was great, even bringing Tim Hortons on board when the food ran out. Still, passengers were understandably frustrated by the time the flight returned to Newark. 

United Airlines apologized, but passengers say that’s not enough.

“I’d like them to give me a refund since I’m not going on to Hong Kong,” passenger Chris Liew said.

Still, Liew says passengers were understanding.

“I think everybody understood that the circumstances that nobody could really control,” he said.