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Passenger jet flies for 13 hours…but lands at the same airport it took off from: Nightmare for travellers as Dubai-Auckland flight has to turn back due to New Zealand flooding
A passenger jet that took off from Dubai flew for 13 hours and landed at the same airport after it was forced to turn around in midair.
Flight EK448 took off at 10.30am local time on Friday and was supposed to land in Auckland, New Zealand, 16 hours later.
But the Emirates flight ended up landing back in Dubai just after midnight on Saturday due to severe flooding at Auckland airport.
It had travelled around half of the 9,000-mile journey before it was forced to U-turn to its departure airport.
A passenger jet that took off from Dubai flew for 13 hours and landed at the same airport after it was forced to turn around in midair
A state of emergency was declared in the Kiwi city after an onslaught of torrential brought chaos to the transport hub.
The airport said on Twitter: ‘Auckland Airport has been assessing the damage to our international terminal and unfortunately determined that no international flights can operate today.
‘We know this is extremely frustrating but the safety of passengers is our top priority.’
More than 2,000 passengers were forced to stay overnight in the terminals overnight on Friday when international and domestic flights were suddenly cancelled until Sunday.
The downpour was caused by warm air descending from the tropics, sparking heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Social media photos (above) show the check-in area in the International Terminal knee-deep in flood water
Both the domestic and international airport were closed because of the flooding in Auckland (pictured, stranded passengers)
City rainfall records were broken, with the airport logging 9.8 inches in the 24 hours to 9am on Saturday, beating the 1985 high of 6.3 inches.
At least 5,000 homes and businesses were being assessed for flood and landslide damage and several roads remained closed.
The state of emergency for Auckland and surrounding districts was lifted on Monday morning but Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown warned that dangerous conditions were forecast to return on Tuesday.
‘My team’s current focus and our big worry is that some Aucklanders might think the worse is behind us, but it isn’t,’ Mr Brown told reporters.
He said up to 5 inches of rain was forecast in some areas that were already waterlogged.
Passengers travelling out of Auckland were left stranded as floodwater engulfed the international and domestic airports (pictured, the airport check-in)
At least 5,000 homes and businesses were being assessed for flood and landslide damage and several roads remained closed
‘That’s nothing like Friday night, but the ground is so saturated and the drains are so full that if anything, it could be more dangerous than even Friday,’ Mr Brown said.
He said the number of residents of Auckland and surrounding areas asking for help due to storm damage would continue to rise.
‘It has taken some time for everyone to appreciate just how big and widespread an event this has been and it hasn’t finished yet,’ he said.
‘The downfall was by far the biggest in our history. It was well beyond even what our emergency people either imagined or planned for.’
The heavy rain warning for Tuesday covered Auckland and further north on the North Island.
‘This rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities,’ a MetService statement said.
Auckland schools will remain closed until next week.