A water main break at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport delayed flights and forced a partial terminal evacuation Sunday as the airport struggled to recover from last week's powerful storm and a relentless run of bitter cold temperatures.
"There are about three inches of water inside the west end of Terminal 4", Airport Spokesman Scott Ladd said.
As airlines scrambled to get operations back to normal on Sunday, a water main break at the airport's Terminal 4, the departure point for many worldwide flights, halted global arriving flights.
In a statement, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton called the situation at the airport "unacceptable".
The cause of the break appeared to be "weather-related" but would be investigated, as would why the pipe had not been weather protected and whether other failures contributed to the disruption, officials said.
The burst pipe caused 3 inches of water to flood the arrivals area of Terminal 4, which services Delta and 30 global airlines, before it cascaded onto the roadway, where it froze, Cotton said. The terminal was reopened for arrivals Sunday night, according to WABC.
JFK Airport in New York City.
The Kennedy Airport ordeal, which occurred mostly at its worldwide terminals, leaves many unanswered questions: How did all of those flights converge without a plan or gate space? Video on social media showed water pouring out of the ceiling, eventually leading to the terminal being closed and forcing the Port Authority to divert inbound flights to other terminals for several hours. Passengers inside the airport were left to deal with long delays, while some struggled to get information about their flights.
For example, the Twitter account for Flightradar24 said that Norwegian flight DY7015, arriving from London's Gatwick Airport on January 6, landed at 11p.m. Friday but was still waiting for a gate more than four hours later.
The same day, a man trying to board a Delta flight to Atlanta was caught packing a loaded and stolen handgun.
Making matters worse, the FDNY and Port Authority of NY and New Jersey responded to reports of a water main break in Terminal 4 just after 1:30 p.m. Sunda (Jan. 7).
Domestic and worldwide flights are running out of Terminal 4 with delays, as of Monday morning.
The Port Authority says JFK's runways and taxiways are now fully operational, however frigid temperatures continue to cause slower-than-normal operations and equipment failures. Thousands of people told their horror stories, and the tension was extremely high.
"The primary problem appears to be worldwide airlines arriving without available gates at the global terminals, but we will thoroughly review all aspects of what happened leading up to and during the snowstorm", Cotton said.
"When the flight was suspended, I literally cried", she said.
Also Saturday morning, Port Authority police said they arrested a 61-year-old man with a stolen gun as he went through security.
The Port Authority must find out what went wrong.
Worldwide terminal operators intend to reunite passengers still in New York City with lost baggage by Tuesday morning, he said.