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United Airlines passengers delayed on board plane for 16 hours

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United Airlines passengers delayed on board plane for 16 hours
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Reuters
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A United Airlines flight was forced to divert to a small airport in rural Canada on Sunday evening, leading to an hours-long delay on the tarmac in sub-zero temperatures.

According to an airline statement sent to Euronews, UA flight 179 was en route from New York to Hong Kong when it was forced to divert to Goose Bay Airport in Canada due to a medical emergency.

The passenger suffering the medical emergency was transported to a local hospital, but flight 179 was unable to resume its journey due to a mechanical issue.

A wait of over 16 hours ensued aboard the faulty aircraft due to an absence of customs staff at the Canadian airport terminal, which prevented passengers from disembarking.

One passenger, Sonjay Dutt, tweeted pleas for help from his seat, highlighting the danger of sub-zero temperatures for the more vulnerable people on board.

According to past weather reports, Goose Bay saw low temperatures of -19 Celcius on Sunday.

Fourteen hours after the initial diversion, a rescue plane landed in Goose Bay, ready to transport the stranded passengers back to New York.

The customers were eventually able to take off in the rescue plane at 3:30 pm local time, more than 17 hours after they originally landed.

In the statement sent to Euronews, United Airlines apologised to it's customers for the delay, saying it did "everything possible" to help.

"We had food delivered and our crew did everything possible to assist customers," the airline said.

"Our alternative flew to Goose Bay Airport and flew our customers back to [Newark] with their luggage. Customers were met by [Newark] leadership upon arrival and were offered meals, hotel accommodations, and compensation."

While many customers on board the flight used social media to air their frustrations during the lengthy delay, some tried to remain optimistic.

"On a positive note, the entire crew has been absolutely amazing," passenger Rose Kazan tweeted. "Really appreciate their effort and empathy."