- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Delta Air Lines official said unfortunate timing and inadequate communication resulted in passengers being stranded aboard two planes at the Oklahoma City airport as ground crews evacuated to a tunnel to take cover during a tornado warning.

Spokesman Morgan Durrant for Delta Air Lines said the temporary stranding of passengers Wednesday was unintentional. He said the Will Rogers World Airport’s decision to direct passengers and workers to take shelter came after the planes were cleared to land.

The arriving planes stopped about 400 feet from the terminal and passengers on the regional jets waited for about 15 minutes before help arrived, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1P5lKq8) reported. Durrant said ground crews apparently thought the planes were being rerouted, so they took shelter before going back out to guide the airplanes into the terminal gates.

Passenger Christina Nihira said they learned of the tornado warning from the pilot after the plane landed. She said the pilot told them they were going to have to remain on the plane because the ground crew had been evacuated to a tunnel and there was nobody to unload the plane.

“There were some people that were completely freaking out,” Nihira said.

“All I kept thinking was this was a lot worse than being in a mobile home. We were in a completely open area, and it was a little bit frightening.”

Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said that officials would meet with traffic controllers and airline officials soon over the incident.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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