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Changi Airport fire: Delays, diversions causing confusion among travellers

May 16, 2017 2:09 PM
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Changi Airport fire: Delays, diversions causing confusion among travellers

SINGAPORE: Travellers at Changi Airport were confused and unsure about their flights after a fire at Terminal 2 caused delays and diversions on Tuesday evening.

Many who arrived at the airport for flights on Tuesday night were unsure of what to do, after the entire terminal was evacuated after it began filling up with smoke from an air-conditioning vent.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post that it extinguished the small fire using a hosereel jet, and three people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

Senthil Shanmugam, a 33-year-old aircon repair man, was at T2 around 7pm to check-in for his 9.15pm Tigerair flight to Tiruchirapalli for a one-week holiday.

"We've been waiting for updates, but we're not sure where to get them," he told The Straits Times at about 8.20pm. "We can only wait for announcements to be made over the intercom."

He said the intercom had advised passengers to head over to T3 assembly area but he was not sure where the area was.

Changi Airport said on its Facebook page on Tuesday night that T2 remains closed, and that all departing and arriving flights at T2 will be moved to T3 until further notice.

It added that flight information was being updated and passengers should check the flight information screens in the terminal and on the Changi Airport website for details on Check-In row, Departure Gate and Baggage Belt.

It advised passengers to expect significant delays to departing and arriving flights at Changi Airport on Tuesday night.

Marite Masanova, a 24-year-old from Latvia, said she was supposed to get on a Malaysia Airlines flight at 9.20pm to Kuala Lumpur but will probably miss her connecting flight from KL to London.

Masanova, who works in the finance industry in London, had just finished a three-week trip around South-east Asia with Singapore as her last stop.

"I was supposed to head to work straight after touching down at the airport, but I don't think it's possible anymore," she said.

She arrived at T2 around 5.45pm and saw a lot of smoke filling the terminal. She also saw an airport staff member, who had fainted, being carried out.

Passengers were asked to evacuate only about 40min after the fire alarm sounded, said Masanova.

Chuck Brown, a dancer in his 40s, was on his way to catch a 10.30pm flight to Gold Coast on Scoot when he saw "a crazy amount of traffic" outside.

"I felt something was funny because T2 was blocked outside so I told the driver to get me to T1 and now we just found out there's a major fire," said Brown.

He added that T2 was evacuated and passengers were told to go to T3 to meet at a waiting area where announcements will be made for those flying out from T2 on Tuesday night.

Engineer Yip Peng Sun, 55, and his daughter heard about the closure at T2 while on their way to the airport, so they headed to Terminal 3 instead.

They were supposed to get on a 10pm Scoot flight to Gold Coast for a four-day holiday, and spoke to The Straits Times before heading to the Scoot counter to check on their flight status.

"Hopefully we'll still be able to go for our long-awaited holiday," said 21-year-old undergraduate Yip Zhi Ting.

Despite the updates by Changi Airport on its Facebook page, when ST visited the airport, there were still signs at T3 arrival hall directing passengers to go to T2 for arrivals .

There was an announcement for those at the T2 arrival hall to head to the T3 arrival hall due to the fire, and T3 was crowded when The Straits Times visited.

A 48-year-old businessman who gave his name as Sundar said he was at the airport to pick a friend at T2, and saw a lot of smoke at the arrival hall at 6.45pm.

He drove to T3 after hearing an announcement for passengers to head to T3 because of the fire.

His friend, who was arriving from Chennai on Air India, was on the plane since 6.30pm and Sundar said he did not know which terminal his friend will exit from.

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Source: thestar.com.my

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