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Two Passengers Hospitalized in Nightmare Weather Diversion

March 06, 2018
3 min read
Two Passengers Hospitalized in Nightmare Weather Diversion
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Two American Airlines passengers were hospitalized after being hit by a car during a weather diversion due to last Friday's nor'easter that battered the East Coast.

American Flight 4664 from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to New York LaGuardia (LGA) was diverted on Friday to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) because of the bomb cyclone's severe weather. The flight was redirected to BWI after a failed landing attempt.

From BWI, American chartered a bus for the final leg of the trip from BWI to LGA, about a 200-mile trek. “The buses were filled with flights from all over … from Detroit, from Nashville, from Minneapolis,” passenger Stefani Kuo told the Washington Post. “No one was really directing anyone.”

While the airline's chartered bus was at a rest stop, two Chinese tourists were hit by oncoming traffic and both were hospitalized for serious head trauma, authorities told the Post.

American Airlines spokeswoman Michelle Mohr confirmed to the Post that two of its passengers were involved in an accident Friday while being transported by bus from Baltimore to New York.

Unfortunately, that was not the only nightmarish aspect of the journey. The passengers were put on a bus with no bathrooms, where they sat in heavy traffic and severe weather for a total of about 12 hours. Wind and downed trees had slowed I-95, the route from Baltimore to New York, to a near halt. It took the bus almost nine hours to travel only 40 miles toward LGA, and every time a passenger had to relieve themselves, they were forced to go on the side of the road and jump back on the bus as it crawled through the heavy traffic, reports the Post.

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“Everyone was burned out because there were no bathrooms,” Kuo said to the Post. “Everyone was freaking out about their cellphone because we didn’t have any battery.”

During the long slog, the bus made only one rest stop at a McDonald's, and it was at that stop that the two passengers were hit by a car as they crossed a street. After the passengers were injured, the bus driver decided to turn around and head back to BWI. All told, the bus journey was a 12-hour ordeal that landed passengers right back where they started.

Kuo says the bus driver almost pulled away without realizing the two passengers had been injured, and the airline wouldn't know about the injured passengers unless she informed an American employee back at BWI.

“What we did was we immediately deployed specially trained members of our Care Team to assist the couple and their son who came down to see them," the spokeswoman, Mohr, said, according to the Post report. "So we’re working closely with the family to make sure they have the support and care that they need during this difficult time. As soon as we learned of this, we jumped into action.”

Kuo says she got to New York about 24 hours after she was originally scheduled to arrive. She filed a complaint with the airline and was offered a $500 voucher, which was later raised to $700.