Broward County

Trapped on a plane, where arrival of a water truck is cause for celebration

Passengers gather on the tarmac at FLL following airport shooting

Passengers can be seen on the Fort Lauderdale International airport's tarmac following a shooting on Jan. 6, 2017.
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Passengers can be seen on the Fort Lauderdale International airport's tarmac following a shooting on Jan. 6, 2017.

The shooting had federal air-traffic controllers diverting Fort Lauderdale’s inbound flights to Miami and other Florida airports, and scratching the ones that hadn’t left. For flights that had already landed, the paralyzed airport meant extended waits to leave.

Sarah Ramos, a 19-year-old college student flying from Puerto Rico to Baltimore through Fort Lauderdale, told the five-hour saga of her Spirit flight’s extended landing on Twitter.

“Water is being delivered to the aircraft!” she posted at 5:55 p.m., more than three hours after she said the plane landed around 2:30 p.m. A photo showed a Spirit water truck underneath a jet wing. “Still can’t get off the plane!”

Shortly after 7:45 p.m., Ramos shared a video of passengers cheering after the pilot pulled the jet to the gate and allowed them to stand and get off the aircraft. It was more than seven hours after they left San Juan. “Finally!”

Her exit still left Ramos stranded in Fort Lauderdale. In a telephone interview, Ramos said she was among hundreds of passengers in the check-in area of the terminal, where she saw plenty of police but nobody who could help her figure out the next leg of her journey.

She’s planning to spend the night in the airport with her 20-year-old brother, who is also a student at Northern Virginia Community College. Ramos hopes for a flight to the Baltimore area Saturday so they can make their way back to school.

“If not, I’m stuck,” she said. “My mom freaked out. She is very worried.”

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