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Long IslandTransportation

Possible JFK airport delays after water pipe break from cold

All international arrivals at Terminal 4 had been suspended after flooding caused a power outage, forcing an evacuation of the arrivals area.

Kennedy Airport announced that a terminal had been

Kennedy Airport announced that a terminal had been shut down on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, due to a water main break. Photo Credit: Twitter / Conor Moran

There may be delays Monday morning at Kennedy Airport in the wake of a burst pipe Sunday that led to the partial evacuation of a terminal serving overseas flights, officials said.

“Please allow extra time and contact your airline,” the Port Authority, which operates the airport, said in an advisory.

Departure delays were averaging 31 minutes as of 5 a.m., according to flightaware.com, which monitors airport activity around the globe.

The Port Authority tweeted Sunday night that the terminal’s international arrivals were resuming operations, but residual delays were expected.

The pipe break, which officials said resulted in three inches of water in Terminal 4, occurred as the airport was already facing massive delays due to the subfreezing temperatures.

The water pipe that feeds that terminal’s sprinkler system ruptured just before 2 p.m. at the west end of the terminal, which handles arrivals, according to a statement from the Port Authority. The break also led to heavy traffic as taxis were rerouted from the departure level of the terminal.

Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton said in a statement Sunday night that the agency had deployed additional staff and buses to assist passengers and would investigate the pipe rupture.

“What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable and travelers expect and deserve better,” Cotton said. “While the water pipe break that occurred appears to be weather-related, we have launched an investigation into the incident to determine exactly what occurred and why an internal pipe was not weather protected and whether any other failures contributed to this disruption.”

An airport official said the pipe in the arrivals area cracked due to the cold and workers were not able to turn it off quickly due to the location of the damage. Electricity was shut off to the affected area of the terminal, the Port Authority statement said.

Melissa Olivar, 19, of Astoria, was at JFK Sunday hoping to get on a flight with her siblings to Mexico — the second attempt after their original flight Thursday was canceled because of the winter storm.

“We were crying because we were so upset,” said Olivar, adding that they had to pay for an expensive cab ride home.

The burst pipe, she said, “brought a lot of chaos to the already chaotic airlines.”

Monica Pierre, a registered nurse in her 50s from Staten Island, waited for her luggage, which contained important medication, in the waterlogged terminal after a trip to Tobago.

“This is, on a scale of 1-10, this is a zero, ”said Pierre, a former Valley Stream resident. “This is horrible.”

The worst part, she said, was the lack of communication from the airport.

“There should be more emergency planning. This is America, not a Third World country,” Pierre said. “I understand there was a huge snowstorm but that’s not a reason to not have proper planning.”

It was the third day of delays at the airport after last week’s powerful winter storm.

While Federal Aviation Administration reported delays were generally 15 minutes or less at Kennedy Sunday morning, passengers of various airlines complained on Twitter that their respective flights were still backed up.

“Chaos trying to get home from #newyork #jfk. 17 hour delays and now Stuck at Heathrow til 8 p.m. Where’s my bed,” one flyer vented in a tweet Sunday morning.

With Nicole Levy

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