Hongkongers stranded in Tokyo after deadly snowstorm hits Japan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 4:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:04am

At least two Hong Kong tour groups were stuck at Tokyo's Narita Airport for much of the weekend as Japan suffered one of its heaviest snowfalls in decades.

Some of the tourists, all of whom returned home late last night, had been stuck at the airport since Saturday, the day they were originally meant to fly back.

The snowstorm was at its peak on Saturday and transport links between the airport and downtown Tokyo were cut. The storms killed at least 12 people and left some 1,200 injured.

Watch: Tokyo hit by heavy snowfall, worst in 45 years

Tourists complained that elderly people and children in the groups were running out of supplies and hit out at tour organiser World Package Travel Service for not doing more to help.

Some said they had to spend thousands of Hong Kong dollars on taxis to the airport.

World Package said yesterday that it had booked the two parties on a flight late last night.

One of the groups had visited the northern island of Hokkaido. But their flight back to Tokyo was diverted to Nagoya due to heavy snow, and the 32 travellers had to make the 250-kilometre journey to the capital by train. The other group, consisting of about 30 travellers, visited Tokyo itself.

World Package said it would pay for transport and one night's accommodation for the stranded passengers and that travel insurance payouts of HK$2,000 would cover the rest.

Some 740 flights were cancelled on Saturday, with a further 400 domestic flights grounded on Sunday. About 5,000 passengers were stuck at the airport on Saturday as transport links between the airport and downtown areas were blocked.

As much as 35cm of snow fell in some parts of the country.

Additional reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse