Passengers 'pass out' on Qatar Airways plane stuck on tarmac for hours without air-con

Saturday, 15 June 2024 - 12:21

Passengers+%27pass+out%27+on+Qatar+Airways+plane+stuck+on+tarmac+for+hours+without+air-con
SINGAPORE: Passengers aboard a Qatar Airways flight from Athens to Doha were left sweltering after a "technical issue" grounded the plane for over three hours on Monday (Jun 10).

The incident came amid a heatwave buffeting Greece with temperatures reaching as high as 43 degrees Celsius.

To compound matters, the plane's air-conditioning reportedly failed, forcing some passengers to go shirtless, while others seemingly fainted due to the intense heat.

The passengers could not disembark for hours and no explanation was given to them, according to The Bangkok Post.

The plane became so hot that some passengers had nose bleeds, while others relied on oxygen masks to breathe and some children were left in tears, the newspaper added.

Sports therapist Garth Collins shared footage of the chaotic scenes on Instagram, calling it an "enforced sauna".

"How about helping your stranded passengers from flight QR204 that are stranded in Athens?" he wrote.

"Your handling the situation is atrocious at best. Passengers were left stranded on the plane for three-and-a-half hours with doors closed and no aircon. Passengers were literally dehydrating and passing out on the plane."

Other footage on social media showed sweat pouring down the backs and arms of some passengers who had stripped off their clothes because of the heat.

A physical confrontation nearly broke out between passengers and flight crew over the hours-long wait, Thai news site The Nation reported, and it was only after things threatened to boil over that passengers were allowed to leave the plane.

Among those on board were 49 members of Thailand's national Muay Thai team and accompanying reporters, with the contingent bound for home via Doha following their participation in the world championships in Patras, Greece.

One of the Thai boxers, Thannachai Sidsongpeenong, told The Nation that he considered himself "lucky to have survived this", adding that he and other passengers were "melting in sauna-like heat" on board.

Social media footage showed smoke billowing out from the rear of the plane and Qatar Airways later said the delay was caused by a "technical issue".

"Qatar Airways sincerely apologises for the delay to passengers traveling on flight QR204 from Athens (ATH) to Doha (DOH) on Monday Jun 10, 2024, which was due to a technical issue," a spokesperson told Business Insider.

"We regard the safety and comfort of our passengers and crew as our highest priority at all times, and have offered our apologies to each passenger affected by this unforeseen disruption and the inconvenience caused.

"Additionally, passengers have been informed of their compensation entitlements in line with the applicable regulations."

Flight QR204's departure was delayed by a day, according to the airline's website, and arrived in Doha at 10.34am on Tuesday.

Wildfires, a perennial problem in the Greek summer, started as early as March, and earlier this week, the country's fire risk warning was placed at a "very high" level of four on a scale of five.

Schools and the ancient Acropolis tourist site were also shut amid the sweltering heat.

Greece is one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe and last year, rising temperatures fuelled deadly wildfires.

Source: Foreign Media reports


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