JFK Airport Hobbled by Water Main Break, 'Perfect Storm'

JFK Airport Hobbled by Water Main Break, 'Perfect Storm'

A terminal at Kennedy International Airport was evacuated yesterday afternoon after a water main broke, causing flight delays and exacerbating other lingering effects of Thursday's winter storm.

A pipe supplying water to the sprinkler system in Terminal 4 broke at approximately 2 p.m.

Things at JFK got so hectic, Port Authority police officers were called to break up a "disturbance" over a canceled flight in Terminal 4, according to Virgin Atlantic.

At the time of this writing, the airport was experiencing departure and arrival delays of more than two hours.

"What broke down - and it broke down badly - was the coordination between terminal operators and the airlines to assure that there were gates available for the arriving airplanes", Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, told reporters Sunday.

The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey says passengers who have already arrived are being taken to other terminals for processing. The Port Authority has launched a full investigation to find out what happened, saying it will "hold all responsible parties accountable".

Images from a CNN report showed standing water in Terminal 4 in the busy NY hub.

Terminal 4 is a major hub for global travel at JFK airport. Footage posted online showed water flowing into the arrival terminal, flooding the area. The FAA said Sunday afternoon that the average flight delay was more than 81 minutes at JFK Airport.

More news: What is happening at your hospital — NHS winter crisis

Dimitri Grigoryev told CBS News on Sunday he has been stranded at the airport for three days.

Americans Airlines had 18 percent of its Saturday flights delayed, and 22 percent of its flights delayed on Sunday, while Delta Airlines had 17 percent of its flights delayed Saturday, and 19 percent Sunday.

While the Port Authority says trains are running on time and planes are regulalrly taking off, transportation officials continue to face new challenges, including frozen and malfunctioning equipment.

The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey said a water pipe that feeds the terminal's sprinkler system broke around 2 p.m.

"People see children crying; let us go", the driver said. "I'm exhausted, man", she said, in about the only sentence that could be printed without obscenities.

While worldwide and domestic flights resumed at Terminal 4, the wait continues at baggage claim.

Global terminal operators intend to reunite passengers still in New York City with lost baggage by Tuesday morning, he said.

"Virtually no foreign airline canceled any flights into J.F.K." on Thursday, said Jason Rabinowitz, a freelance aviation blogger who tracked the cascading pileup as it played out. "The delays were so bad, they weren't going to be able to leave until Sunday, Jan. 7", Stephenson said, so the clients eventually canceled.

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