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July 7, 2013

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Stranded passengers attack airport workers

THREE stranded passengers resorted to attacking airline employees yesterday as Shanghai's two airports struggled to get back on schedule after Friday's thunderstorm caused more than 100 flight cancellations.

Two men, surnamed Zhang, 45, and Yu, 62, and a woman surnamed Zhang, 44, assaulted two China Eastern Airlines employees at Hongqiao International Airport after their flight to Linyi, in east China's Shandong Province, was delayed, airport police said.

Both employees sustained bruises in the attack.

The men will be detained for 10 days and were also fined 500 yuan (US$81.47) each while the woman was fined 200 yuan, police said.

"Beating up ground staff doesn't change the weather," a netizen identified as Hangkongshi said on the Sina Weibo microblog after posting pictures of airline workers lying on the ground. "Don't vent your anger on innocent people."

Another passenger, surnamed Luo, 26, was also detained by police at Hongqiao airport after grabbing a police officer's badge and hiding it because he was angry about a flight delay. Police said he will be detained for 10 days for disrupting officers from carrying out their duties.

The police ID was found and returned to the officer.

Police said patrols at both airports have been beefed up.

Lengthy delays continued yesterday after all outbound domestic flights from 9pm onwards were canceled on Friday at both airports.

Outbound flights were delayed by one to four hours yesterday.

Many frustrated and tired passengers were seen dozing off on benches or at restaurant tables, according to Xinmin Evening News website.

Some had to change flights or resort to other transport.

A passenger surnamed Li said he and his friends rented a charter bus after their flights had been canceled.

"It should take around 12 hours to arrive in Qingdao in Shandong Province by bus," Li told the website.

Another passenger, surnamed Chen, told the website that he spent the night in a hotel after his flight was canceled on Friday.

"I understand the delay was due to bad weather," Chen was quoted as saying. "But since Shandong Airlines couldn't arrange the flight in a timely manner, we had to buy tickets for a China Eastern Airlines flight.

"I hope Shandong Airlines can reimburse me for the difference," added Chen.


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