National News

Water leak floods JFK Airport baggage claim, forces evacuation

Posted January 7, 2018 2:22 p.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2018 3:34 p.m. EST

— A water leak flooded a baggage claim area at JFK International Airport in New York on Sunday afternoon, soaking stranded travelers' suitcases and forcing a partial evacuation of Terminal 4.

The flooding caused flight delays, according to a tweet from the airport. JFK advised passengers to check with their airline prior to arriving at the airport.

Part of Terminal 4 was evacuated after the flooding started about 1:30 p.m. ET. The New York City Fire Department responded, but no cause of the leak has been provided yet.

Terminal 4 is "the major gateway for international arrivals at JFK airport. It serves as a major international hub for Delta Airlines," the airport website says.

Video showed at least an inch of water covering a large expanse of the floor and water cascading down a wall in the arrivals area.

Hundreds of bags have been lined up in rows on the floor in the baggage claim areas while stranded travelers, sometimes sleeping next to their suitcases, wait to board flights.

The travelers were stuck at the airport because of the winter storm that socked the East Coast. On Saturday alone, 94 flights were canceled at JFK, the New York Port Authority said.

There were several hundred flight cancellations across North America and thousands of delays, according to Flight Aware, a flight tracking service.

Travelers had complained about delays and baggage problems even before the leak occurred.

Emillio Mesa traveled from Los Angeles to New York City and said he was frustrated at not seeing his luggage for 13 hours.

"The luggage pile just keeps growing," he said. "It's a fire hazard now. New flights are coming in and there's no space!" he posted on Instagram.

The New York Port Authority issued a statement saying the FAA is limiting some flights into JFK, including all flights scheduled to arrive at Terminal 1 for the rest of the evening.