Sinkhole Prompts Significant Delays at Greece's Rhodes Airport
Greece's Rhodes International Airport experienced a temporary shutdown Tuesday after a sinkhole opened up on one of the airport's runways, the Manchester Evening News reported.
In a statement, charter airline Thomson Airways said the airport was closed for 14 hours.
It took contractors 10 hours to repair the hole and the runway reopened around 8 a.m. local time Wednesday.
Flight-tracking website FlightAware.com showed that eight flights were canceled and seven others were delayed at the airport Tuesday. The cancellations impacted 12 percent of scheduled departing flights for the day.
"We kept a very close eye on the situation in Rhodes and had contingency plans in place to protect our customers if it had been a prolonged issue," a Thomas Cook spokesman said in a statement to the Evening News. "As it was, none of our flights were affected and we understand the situation is now resolved in Rhodes."
The eight-meter-wide sinkhole resulted from a previously repaired crack on the runway that was made worse after heavy rainfall passed through the region.
Unsurprisingly, passengers at Rhodes Airport were caught off guard by the unexpected delay. Traveler Antoine Sahyoun tweeted a photo of what appeared to be a sea of confused passengers.
This is the situation at Rhodes airport.100 people not aware what's going on! pic.twitter.com/AJnsfOthcl— Antoine Sahyoun (@AntoineSahyoun) September 23, 2015
The setback led to long lines that were compounded by a lack of information and organization, according to complaints made on social media.
At least one incoming flight was forced to divert to Crete, as traveler Michiel Willems pointed out via Twitter.
Even worse, some really unlucky passengers, including Isobel Holmes, were delayed as long as 24 hours.
@misscaileyanne hi, Thompson left us all unattended all night, we are now boarding our flight 24 hours later than originally scheduled— Isobel Holmes (@izzyaholmes) September 23, 2015
Thankfully, normal operations have resumed at the airport.
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