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Thousands of passengers were evacuated from London Gatwick Airport today after a fire alarm, as they complained of an ‘absolute shambles’ and ‘no information’.

Those inside the north terminal of the West Sussex airport were ordered to leave at about 11am and had to stand outside while they waited for updates.

Travellers told of ‘people just standing about’ and ‘no sign of any staff’, before clapping and cheering when they were allowed back in about 20 minutes later.

Gatwick apologised ‘for any inconvenience’ and MailOnline understands some flights were held to ensure no passengers missed boarding.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed there were dozens of delayed flights at Gatwick today, although it is not clear if all of those were linked to the fire alarm.

Between 11am and the end of today, FlightRadar24 listed 32 departures as delayed. There were also seven cancellations. 

Michael Hincks, a sports journalist for the i, posted videos on X showing the evacuation. In the first at 10.58am, he said: ‘Never too old for an airport first. Whole of Gatwick North Terminal evacuated after a fire alarm.’

He added at 11.06am: ‘People cheered and clapped the fire alarm ending. Let the scramble back in begin?’ Mr Hincks then said at 11.19am: ‘Back into Gatwick North Terminal we go, past a fire engine. Which I guess is reassuring?’

Another social media user said: ‘Evacuated from Gatwick North just as my breakfast was going to arrive. Absolute shambles here, no information, people just standing about, no sign of any staff. FFS.’

A third posted online: ‘Fire alarm has been going off for 20 mins. No direction on where to go. No announcement as to what’s happening. Still standing in view of the departure lounge, where the alarm was triggered. Utter disgrace.’

And another said: ‘Gatwick – what is going on? No announcements on this side, we are all just walking inside the building. No safety staff to guide travellers on this side.’

A London Gatwick spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘London Gatwick’s North Terminal departure lounge was evacuated for a short time this morning due to a fire alarm being activated.

‘As always, safety and security are our number one priority. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience.’

Separately, BBC Radio London reported that there were some delays and cancellations at London City Airport today because of poor visibility this morning.

It comes after Gatwick forced airlines to cancel dozens of flights last week after a Covid outbreak among air traffic controllers. The airport was limited to 800 flights a day until yesterday.

This was meant to reduce delays for passengers while Nats, which runs Gatwick’s air traffic control tower, delt with problems caused by ‘short-notice staff sickness including some incidences of Covid’.

Last week marked the third time in a month that Gatwick passengers have faced chaos due to air traffic control staff sickness.

That was on top of the Nats technical glitch on August 28 that caused widespread disruption at airports across the UK, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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