September 11, 2016 6:42 pm
Updated: September 13, 2016 5:22 pm

Halifax airport employee remembers ‘grateful’ passengers and crew stranded on 9/11

On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Global’s Steve Silva spoke with both a giver and receiver of Canada’s generosity who remember what it was like at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

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Fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, a Halifax International Airport Authority employee says she remembers the gratitude of the 8,000 passengers and crew members stranded in Halifax that day.

“They were hugging us, and saying, ‘Thank you so much,’ and the last flight that went out had a huge Canadian flag they were waving. Everyone was just amazing,” said Kelly Martin, customer relations manager.

“They were quiet, they were grateful.”

According to the organization, 40 planes were diverted to Halifax Stanfield International Airport that day.

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Martin said she recalled seeing the outcome of the attack live on a television, thinking it was part of a movie and was thankful she was, subsequently, too busy helping people than to pay further attention to the news.

“I hadn’t left [the airport] in two days, no,” she said.

Deede Deibel, a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, was on a plane for 14 hours after it was diverted to Halifax that day.

“They wouldn’t let us off the airplane because, to tell you the truth, they didn’t know what to do with us and nobody knew what was going on, really,” she said over the phone in Raleigh, N.C.

When the passengers got off, finding a place to stay wasn’t as much of problem as expected.

“All the passengers were accommodated in people’s homes. I mean, everybody opened up for us. It was amazing,” said Deibel.

“Canadians will always have a special place in my heart.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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