17,000 left stranded after typhoon hits Tokyo airport

Twitter user Kelle Freel uploaded a photo of passengers sleeping at Tokyo's Narita Airport, calling it "the most insane travel expense I ever encountered". The airport said a total of 16,900 people were stuck at the airport at midnight. It also deliv
Twitter user Kelle Freel uploaded a photo of passengers sleeping at Tokyo's Narita Airport, calling it "the most insane travel expense I ever encountered". The airport said a total of 16,900 people were stuck at the airport at midnight. It also delivered 2,000 bottles of water, 19,000 bags of crackers and 18,000 bed rolls to the stranded passengers. PHOTO: @KC_FREEL/TWITTER

TOKYO • Around 17,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Tokyo's Narita Airport, an official said yesterday, after it took a direct hit from a powerful typhoon that caused transport chaos throughout the Japanese capital.

The typhoon caused more than 100 flights to be scrapped. Road and rail links to and from the airport were also badly affected, leaving many people with no transport options to the city, located 70km to the west.

Airport spokesman Kei Miyahara said a total of 16,900 people were stuck at the airport at midnight.

Narita Airport, located in Chiba to the east of Tokyo, was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207kmh.

Suburban train services throughout the huge Tokyo metropolitan area were not resumed until 8am yesterday as officials checked for debris and damage. This sparked pandemonium during the notoriously busy morning commute.

The chaos came as Japan is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup later this month.

There was "minor" disruption to some teams' schedules, said a Rugby World Cup spokesman, with Australia's arrival delayed and the England team stuck at the airport.

The airport said it delivered 2,000 bottles of water, 19,000 bags of crackers and 18,000 bed rolls to stranded passengers.

"We delivered information in English and Japanese on digital signs, and made announcements in four languages," said Mr Miyahara.

 
 

However, there was mass frustration and passengers complained about a lack of information and long queues for taxis. The airport operator will review their experiences and draw lessons later, Mr Miyahara said.

Meanwhile, about 584,200 households, mostly in Chiba prefecture, remained without power yesterday afternoon. Helicopters from the Air Self-Defence Force have been activated to evacuate patients from hospitals without power.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline '17,000 left stranded after typhoon hits Tokyo airport'. Print Edition | Subscribe