A British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong turned into a 36-hour ordeal after the plane tried to land during a typhoon – before being grounded in the Philippines.
What should have been a 12-hour journey turned into a marathon journey for the 100 passengers, with the plane first making two unsuccessful bids to land in Hong Kong during Typhoon Lionrock before diverting to Manila 700 miles away.
Upon arrival in the Philippine capital, it was understood that passengers were told they could not disembark due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and were stuck on board for 18 hours while grounded.
He eventually arrived in Hong Kong 22 hours later than expected. Video shows the cabin bursting into cheers and applause as they landed – 36 hours after they first took off from London.
It came after Hong Kong authorities issued their third-highest storm warning on Saturday, shutting down transportation networks, schools and offices as the typhoon ravaged the northern South China Sea.
Thirty-six flights were delayed, five were canceled and three were diverted, including the flight from London, before the storm warning was lifted early Sunday.
Flight BA031 departed Heathrow Airport at 7:40pm GMT on Friday and was scheduled to land at Hong Kong International Airport around 2pm Hong Kong time (7am GMT) on Saturday.
A 12-hour flight (flight map shown) from London to Hong Kong saw 100 passengers diverted to Manila amid Tropical Storm Lionrock before finally landing in Hong Kong 36 hours later
After a diversion to Manila, passengers were forced to spend the night on the plane amid Covid restrictions, eventually departing back to Hong Kong 18 hours later (pictured)
When the flight landed in Hong Kong after a 22-hour delay, a video heard passengers cheering as they were relieved to finally land after the 36-hour ordeal
The plane circled over Hong Kong at 2:00 PM (7:00 AM GMT) but failed to land twice amid the fierce conditions, with a woman in Hong Kong dying on Friday when scaffolding collapsed due to high winds.
The plane was then forced to turn around for Manila, the Philippine capital, diverting passengers about 700 miles and landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport two hours later.
But after the diversion, passengers were told they could not get off the Boeing 777 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, so they had to sit on the plane and wait.
The cabin crew provided food and drink and offered to inform quarantine hotels in Hong Kong, where many passengers had booked 21-day stays in accordance with travel restrictions, about the delay.
Passengers and crew members were forced to spend the night on the plane as tropical storm conditions did not improve until it finally departed for Hong Kong 18 hours later. One mile at a time.
Nearly two hours later, and after another failed attempt to land the plane, the plane landed in Hong Kong around 12:00 local time (6:00 GMT) on Sunday – a whopping 22 hours later than expected.
When the flight finally landed, Janet Walker shared a video on Twitter in which the passengers cheered and applauded as they were relieved to finally land after the 36-hour ordeal.
Typhoon Lionrock ravaged Hong Kong on Friday and a female construction worker was killed when a scaffolding (pictured) collapsed in the Happy Valley suburb
Hong Kong authorities issued the third-highest storm warning on Saturday, shutting down transportation networks, schools and offices as the typhoon ravaged the northern South China Sea
Ms Walker, a Hong Kong resident who is in her 50s, said the 36-hour journey was stressful and the diversion to Manila came after two failed attempts to land in Hong Kong amid the typhoon.
She told the South China Morning Mail Frustrated, airline staff were initially unable to provide more information about the delay, but said passengers could at least chat with each other.
The Briton, who returned from a trip to Manchester with her husband and has now started her 21-day quarantine, said she was keen to return to ensure the storm hadn’t damaged her home.
In a letter sent to passengers on Saturday, British Airways apologized for the “difficult decision” it made to delay the plane’s departure from Manila by 18 hours.
A British Airways spokesperson said: ‘Like other airlines, our flight was diverted to Manila due to Tropical Storm Lionrock, which later landed safely in Hong Kong.
“We took good care of our customers on board the aircraft and we apologize for the inconvenience.”
On Saturday, Hong Kong authorities issued the third-highest storm signal, shutting down transportation networks, schools and offices as Tropical Storm Lionrock ravaged the northern South China Sea.
The city’s weather observatory lifted its 8th storm warning signal at 6:40 a.m. (10:40 GMT) local time and said it would likely remain in place all morning, but it wasn’t lifted until early Sunday.
Lionrock coupled with rising northern monsoon winds and heavy rains on Friday ravaged the city, and a female construction worker was killed when scaffolding collapsed in the Happy Valley suburb.
Elsewhere, Typhoon Talim made landfall in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, on Sunday, with winds of up to 162 kilometers (105 miles) per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
People wade in a flooded street during torrential rain as Lionrock, the 17th typhoon to hit China this year, heads for Hong Kong’s Hainan province on Oct.
The city’s weather observatory lifted the number 8 storm warning signal at 6:40 a.m. (10:40 GMT) local time on Saturday, and it was not lifted until early Sunday.
The storm, moving northeast along the country, reached the country’s northern island, Hokkaido, Monday morning, dumping torrential rain and crippling domestic transport en route.
An 86-year-old woman was found dead late Sunday after her home was hit by a landslide in Kagawa, western Japan, while a 60-year-old driver was found dead in his car that sank under a swollen river in Kochi, also west. from Japan, local police officers said.
Public broadcaster NHK said three people were missing and 38 people were injured in storm-related accidents in western Japan.
At least 116 domestic flights were canceled Monday due to high winds, and some bullet train services were suspended in northern Japan due to the typhoon, NHK said.
Authorities have warned of torrential rains, high seas, possible landslides and flooding across the country as the storm maintained its strength.
The typhoon had ravaged Okinawa’s southern island chain before hitting Kyushu, causing the most rain in a 24-hour period in 50 years in the city of Miyako.
Japan regularly hits severe storms, killing 22 people when Typhoon Lionrock ravaged the country last September.
Last month, Typhoon Noru killed two people and injured 51 people.