250 passengers were stranded aboard a United airplane in frigid Labrador for 16 hours

  • 250 passengers were stuck on a United Airlines plane in Happy-Valley Goose Bay, N.L., for about 16 hours.
  • Flight 179 from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong, was diverted because of an ill passenger, a United spokeswoman said. Once the passenger was removed, a mechanical issue prevented the plane from taking off.
  • Passengers could not get off the plane because there were no border officials working overnight, she said.
A United Airlines passenger plane is being de-iced.
Robert Sorbo | Reuters
A United Airlines passenger plane is being de-iced.

An end is finally in sight for passengers who spent about 16 hours on a plane grounded at an airport in frigid Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.

United Airlines spokeswoman Natalie Noonan says Flight 179 from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was diverted to the Goose Bay Airport Saturday night after a passenger experienced a medical emergency.

She says that after the passenger was removed from the plane and taken to hospital, a mechanical issue prevented the plane from taking off and passengers weren't able to get off the plane because there were no border officials working overnight.

Sonjay Dutt, a professional wrestler who was on his way to China for a show, says there was little communication throughout the ordeal, and he and the rest of the 250 passengers were stuck on the plane for about 16 hours as the temperatures outside plunged to -30 C (-22 F).

Dutt says all the passengers were moved to a rescue plane Sunday afternoon and will hopefully be on their way back to Newark soon, though he was left disappointed by the experience.

Noonan says United officials will greet the passengers upon their arrival in Newark and provide them compensation after their ordeal.