• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Gatwick Airport evacuated as passengers miss flights amid ‘carnage’

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Travellers at Gatwick Airport have reported missing their flights after the South Terminal was evacuated following a fire alarm on Thursday.

People were evacuated from the departure lounge after the alarm was activated, the airport said.
One passenger said the situation was “chaotic” and “people were running around everywhere and very confused”.

The airport said in a statement: “Our dedicated Airport Fire Service swiftly attended and confirmed there was no fire. Passengers are being allowed back into the Departure Lounge.”
One Norwegian Air customer reported that she missed her flight because she and more than 16 others standing at the gate were told to evacuate.

Emma Thomasson said the group was forced to go outside and were told the flight was being held, but it departed around 11am with her friends on board.
“They will make Eurovision tonight,” she wrote on X.

“We (and our fellow passengers also headed for Malmo) may not as next flight isn’t until later today. So upset by the way this has been handled.
“Updates show it actually took off at 11:03. Infuriating.”
Another Norwegian Air passenger wrote on X: “Absolute carnage in Gatwick, evacuated for a fire alarm and told the plane will wait.
“Get to the gate, plane doors open and flight attendants say they will take us on – head office says no and denies 38 people boarding.”
Norwegian Air has been approached for comment.
Devon Photographer Michael Marker reported that “despite assurances” his “flight was not held”.
“There was a serious lack of staff or assistance!”

Another passenger said staff were “clueless” and described the ordeal as “awful”.
Ryan Amstad wrote on X: “A fire alarm at Gatwick Airport and staff are as clueless as guests as to the procedures on how to safely exit. No fire marshalls, signage pointing the wrong way. Eventually found a way out. Awful.”
Another person added: “Was all very sudden and chaotic for a while. People running around everywhere and very confused. Never experienced a big evacuation at Gatwick Airport before, don’t want to again!”

Authorities have advised travellers to check their flight statuses ahead of time.
On social media platform X, Clarity, a travel agency, said: “Clarity advises travellers flying to from or through London Gatwick Airport to confirm their flight status in advance of departure and allow additional time for processing through the airport.”

A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “London Gatwick’s South Terminal Departure Lounge was evacuated for a short time this morning due to a fire alarm activation.

“Our dedicated Airport Fire Service swiftly attended and confirmed there was no fire.
“Passengers are being allowed back into the Departure Lounge. Safety and security are our top priority and we resolved the situation as quickly as possible.”

The evacuation comes just days after a “nationwide issue” with Border Force e-gates caused chaos at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports.

Images and footage posted on social media showed horrendous queues as passengers waited to have their passports checked at airports.
The Home Office said the issue, which appeared to affect all UK airports, was resolved shortly after midnight on Wednesday.