United passengers to be flown back to Newark after being stranded 13 hours at airport in Canada

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Hundreds of United Airlines passengers will be flown to Newark Liberty International Airport after being stranded for over 13 hours at an airport in Canada.

United Flight 179 traveling from Newark to Hong Kong was diverted to Goose Bay Airport in Newfoundland, Canada after a passenger had two seizures.

Hallie Grossman is an EMT who tried to help.

"Don't understand why we have to go back to Newark now, instead of just going straight to Hong Kong," she said.

The airline says medical personnel met the aircraft at the gate and the customer was transported to a local hospital.

But the plane was unable to take off again, because of a mechanical problem with one of the doors. Passengers say the problems were just getting started.

"For some reason, it took them 12 hours for them to figure out where we should go after that, and then they decided we would go back to Newark for whatever, and then we wanted to head back, the plane door was frozen shut since it's negative 30 degrees now," Grossman added..

250 passengers and 15 crew members were stranded on board over night.

By 2 p.m. Sunday, passengers say an alternate United Airlines aircraft from Newark came to pick them up, and bring them back.

United Airlines released a statement that read in part: "The airport did not have customs officers overnight so we were not able to let customers depart the aircraft. An alternative aircraft is being flown in to transport customers back to Newark. We apologize to our customers and our crew is doing everything possible to assist them during the delay."

There were multiple children on the fight.

"Not a lot of food and not a lot of water and not a lot of responsiveness when we asked," said Grossman.

As for why passengers were forced to remain on board? Goose Bay Airport is operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and is not staffed with customs officials overnight.

The passengers are now trying to restart their journey to Hong Kong.

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