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Long delays at Gatwick Airport after system outage grounds flights | UK News

Flights were grounded and passengers faced hours of delays at Gatwick Airport on Saturday following a system outage.

Travellers reported planes being stuck on the tarmac at the West Sussex airport after problems emerged around 8am this morning.

Dozens of departures and arrivals appeared to be affected, with football fans travelling to Premier League matches among those experiencing issues.

Gatwick Airport has apologised, saying the delays were the result of an “outage” to a National Air Traffic Services (NATS) system.

It comes just months after widespread disruption affected thousands of passengers at airports in August, with NATS chief executive then blaming a “one in 15 million” technical glitch.

Danny Bellringer, 45, was travelling from Dublin with fellow Brighton fans for the game against Burnley when the group was told their Aer Lingus flight would be delayed by at least two hours.

The oil rig worker said: “There’s not a huge amount we can do – we’re kind of used to it when travelling over from Ireland to the UK for games, (it) very rarely goes completely smoothly.”

Padraic Mac Aonghusa, 24, said fellow passengers on his Ryanair flight from Dublin were “angry” when the pilot announced there would be a delay due to the issues at Gatwick.

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A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “There was an outage to a local NATS system earlier this morning which has now been rectified.

“Some passengers may experience delays. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

The spokesperson added that one flight was cancelled and two were diverted from Gatwick.

Thames Water fined more than £3m over sewage spill that turned rivers black near Gatwick Airport | UK News

Thames Water have been fined more than £3m after admitting polluting rivers.

The company, which supplies one in four people in Britain with water, had pleaded guilty to four charges relating to illegally discharging waste.

It was fined £3.3m at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard “millions of litres” of undiluted sewage was pumped into the Gatwick Stream and River Mole between Crawley in West Sussex and Horley in Surrey on 11 October, 2017.

The hearing was told that the spill turned the water “black” and killed more than 1,000 fish.

More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers
Image:
More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers

Judge Christine Laing KC said that she believed the firm had shown a “deliberate attempt” to mislead the Environment Agency over the incident, by omitting water readings and submitting a report to the regulator denying responsibility.

The company has previously been fined £32.4m for pollution incidents in the Thames Valley and south-west London between 2017 and 2021.

During the first day of the hearing on Monday, the court heard how a storm pump at Crawley Sewage Treatment Works site was unexpectedly diverting sewage to its storm tank for 21 hours and went “unnoticed”.

Prosecutor Sailesh Mehta estimated untreated sewage was spilling into the river for six and a half hours after no alarm was raised.

When an alarm was raised the lead technician was unreachable as they were waiting for a new mobile phone.

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Eyewitness accounts read in court said how they saw the river turn “black” and “grey”, with “huge numbers of dead fish” visible in the water.

Nearly 1,400 dead fish were recovered from the rivers by the Environment Agency following the incident.

Lisa Roberts KC, representing Thames Water, said the firm expresses its “unreserved and sincere apology” for the incident, adding: “Put bluntly, it shouldn’t have happened and Thames deeply regrets the event.”

More than 1,000 fish died as a result of sewage in rivers

She said the company rejects that previous issues were to blame for the spillage, putting it down to a “faulty switch” in the storm pump which meant the incident could not have been predicted.

A £33m plan to improve the Crawley site has been put in place since the incident, according to Ms Roberts, with aims to complete it by the end of March 2025.

New systems have also been rolled out across other Thames Water sites to prevent such incidents happening again.

The fine comes as the company faces concerns over its future amid a mounting £14bn debt.

Thames Water’s chief executive Sarah Bentley stepped down with immediate effect last week after she gave up her bonus due to the company’s environmental performance.

In 2021, Southern Water was fined a record £90m for nearly 7,000 incidents of illegal discharge of sewage across Hampshire, Kent and Sussex.

Police release e-fit image of man found dead in plane undercarriage after aircraft landed at Gatwick | UK News

An e-fit image has been released by police of a man who died on board an aircraft to the UK, as they try to identify the victim.

His body was discovered in the undercarriage of the plane which landed at Gatwick Airport at around 4am on 7 December from The Gambia.

He is believed to be aged in his 20s or 30s and information has been shared with authorities in the west African country.

The Tui flight had been inbound from Banjul after taking off shortly before 10pm local time.

Officers are investigating the case in order to formally identify the man, and are working in partnership with the High Commissioner for Gambia, Interpol, and HM Coroner.

Detective Inspector Darren Lillywhite, of Sussex Police, said: “This was a tragic case, and we are working to establish the identity of the man found deceased.

“Somewhere, this man will have relatives or loved ones who do not know what has happened to him.”

Detectives are hoping to identify the man for an inquest which may provide answers for his loved ones.

Mr Lillywhite added: “In particular, we are seeking contact from anyone in the UK that may have been expecting to meet a friend or family member who failed to arrive in December, as well as anyone in The Gambia or neighbouring countries who may have knowledge about an individual who made travel plans to come to the UK or Europe.”

Anyone who recognises him is asked to contact Sussex Police.