Delta passengers stranded at remote military base after flight diverted to Canada

Transatlantic flight diverted to remote Canadian town

More than 200 passengers were stuck in remote Canada for over 21 hours after a Delta flight traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, experienced a mechanical issue and needed to make an emergency landing. 

Delta flight 135 was diverted to Goose Bay Airport, a remote facility in Newfoundland, Canada, on Sunday, with 270 people on board. Passenger Aditi Shankar told CBS News that airplane staff said the issue was related to deicing one of the plane's engines. 

"They had to make a landing urgently," Shankar said. 

The airport is a Canadian Forces Base located in a small town, but has a long runway that made landing possible, according to CBS News senior travel adviser Peter Greenberg. 

Delta planes on the runway at Goose Bay Airport.  CBS Evening News

"The key is to safety, get it on the ground first, figure out how you get everybody off later," Greenberg said. 

Passengers were stuck on board the plane for hours as temperatures plummeted. Shankar said that she and other passengers had not had a "real meal" in more than 15 hours, and said many passengers were not prepared for the cold temperatures and did not have jackets. 

Delta sent a rescue flight to bring the passengers home on Sunday, but the crew timed out and was unable to fly, leaving passengers stuck overnight. A passenger said on social media that he and the other fliers boarded the new plane before finding out it could not fly. Delta told CBS News that "crew duty times" were impacted by the weather and runway conditions at the airport, and that the airport had to "suspend operations." 

The passengers spent the night in military barracks, because the town of Goose Bay — which has about 8,000 residents — does not have the hotels to house the number of stranded passengers. 

On Monday, a second rescue flight was sent to Goose Bay. This flight was boarded and was able to take off ahead of a major winter storm. The passengers finally arrived in Detroit more than 24 hours after the emergency landing. 

Delta apologized for the inconvenience to customers. 

Kris Van Cleave contributed reporting. 


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