Snow mucks up travel in Britain

Jan. 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of air travelers faced flight cancellations at London's Heathrow airport Sunday due to poor visibility, officials said.

A weekend of hazardous weather conditions left England's roads in "ice rink" conditions, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The hazardous road conditions that began Friday kept many home from work that day. Drivers, however, were expected to risk the bad road conditions as they feel they must return to work Monday, and it was feared more accidents would occur then, the Telegraph reported.

Rail service also was expected to be disrupted.

A driver was killed Saturday when her car skidded off an icy road near Oxford, England, overturned in a ditch and hit a tree, officials said.

A 16-year-old boy suffered life-threatening head injuries after falling off a toboggan while sledding in Middlesbrough, and in Bicester a minibus slid off the road, sending five people to the hospital.

Forecasters predicted as much as 2.3 inches of snow for London with more in higher elevations.

More than 100 flights were axed Saturday and more than 400 Friday.

British Airways apologized to passengers who were stuck in airplanes waiting to take off Saturday.

"We are doing everything we can to help customers whose flights have been disrupted by severe weather," the air carrier said in a statement.

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director of Heathrow, told Sky News the airport had very little freedom to manage with the kind of disruption caused by the weather in recent days.

"The fact that we operate at almost full capacity means that when there's disruption and we do have to space the aircraft at a greater distance we have little room to maneuver, which is why it's so important we make decisions ahead of time so we don't cause disruption to more passengers than we need to," she said.

Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester airports were operating normally during the weekend but advised passengers to check with airlines about possible delays or cancellations.

Topics: John Lennon
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