, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Passengers who were stranded in Greece for three days after their Kenya Airways plane was diverted to Athens following a fire warning in the cargo hold have finally arrived in Nairobi.
The passengers arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the early hours of Tuesday to describe the harrowing experience they underwent at the hands of Greek authorities.
Many of them were forced to spend nights on the airport floor as they lacked visas that would have allowed them immediate entry into that country, while those who managed to leave the airport incurred unplanned expenses.
“We commend the pilot for landing us safely after the fire warning. However as soon as we landed we heard nothing from the Kenya Airways crew or the ground handlers in Athens. We were forced to find ways of communication to Kenya and London to get information which was very unfair,” said one of the passengers.
KQ117 that was flying from Amsterdam to Nairobi with 301 passengers on board was diverted to Athens after a fire warning indication in one of the cargo holds.
The Boeing 777 200ER landed safely in Athens but that marked the beginning of frustration for the passengers.
After checks, the plane was unable to leave after failure of one of the landing gear doors to close during inspection of the aircraft, forcing KQ to send another plane on Monday that eventually evacuated the stranded passengers and crew.
The passengers blamed Kenya Airways for the unfortunate incident saying that the airline had failed to communicate effectively causing a great deal of anxiety.
Ketan Shah who was on board the plane told Capital FM News of the “horrific experiences they underwent in the hands of Greece airport staff.”
We commend the pilot for landing us safely after the fire warning. However as soon as we landed we heard nothing from
the Kenya Airways crew or the ground handlers in Athens. We were forced to find ways of communication to Kenya and London to get information which was very unfair, said one of the passengers.
“We had a diabetic woman on board and she nearly fell into a coma after we were left without food until midnight on Sunday. Children went without milk or diapers and the old were unattended to. It was a horrific incident that needs to be addressed immediately,” said Shah.
“Only 250 passengers were allowed to enter Greece as they had multiple entry visas leaving 50 stranded at the airport without food and water and this even came as a surprise to the captain who only found out 4pm on Sunday. It took social media for a solution to be effected which was very inhumane.”
The passengers have demanded immediate compensation as some had to purchase tickets to return to London while others were forced to seek accommodation in hotels and buy necessary amenities something they say that they had not budgeted for.
“Some passengers were going on holiday and others for business appointments that were not fulfilled, after this incident, some opted to catch flights to London while others were forced to spend money on clothing and food after our luggage was seized and we therefore ask Kenya Airways to compensate each passenger monetarily,” added another passenger.