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Furious Ryanair passengers hold protest in grounded plane

BRUSSELS, Nov 17 – More than 100 angry Ryanair passengers sat in a dark cabin without food or water for four hours Wednesday, refusing to leave their plane after it was diverted to Belgium, authorities and passengers said.

The passengers, mostly French tourists who were supposed to land near Paris after returning from holidays in Morocco, refused to come out of the aircraft even after the crew had left it at the Liege airport in southern Belgium.

After several hours of negotiations with furious passengers, officials convinced them to leave the plane and wait inside the airport for buses that would take them to their original destination, a firefighter told AFP.

"The negotiation was so difficult that we weren\’t sure they would come out," the firefighter said by telephone.

"People are obviously outraged. I\’m just trying to look out for their well-being," he said.

Passengers on the plane told AFP that the flight had left Fes, Morocco, three hours late at 7:15 pm local time on Tuesday but had been unable to land in Beauvais, France, because by that time the airport there had closed.

The plane landed in Liege at around 11:30 pm and passengers only agreed to come out after 3:30 am the next morning.

"This is unacceptable," Mylene Netange, who runs a network on social responsibility for business leaders, told AFP.

"The plane didn\’t land in Beauvais but in Liege without warning us. Consequently, we refused to leave the plane," she said.

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Reda Yahiyaoui, a business owner who was travelling with his wife, a two-month-old baby and a three-year-old, said the passengers had no water and the toilets in the plane were locked.

"The pilot left and he even left the cockpit door open," he said.

A Ryanair spokesperson was not immediately reachable for comment.

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