Severe thunderstorms in Buenos Aires province: 13 dead, flights canceled

Fifty-seven flights were grounded in Aeroparque early Sunday morning and 16 planes damaged due to the weather

A severe thunderstorm hit Buenos Aires province and city between Saturday evening and Sunday early morning. In Bahía Blanca, 13 people died and several were gravely injured after the roof of a sports club collapsed during a rollerskating event. Over 100 flights were canceled due to the extreme weather conditions.

The thunderstorm first hit Bahía Blanca, a coastal city in southwest BA province, on Saturday at around 7 p.m. The winds reached a maximum 140 km/h with intense rain — roofs flew off, trees were uprooted and lamp posts fell down, and there were power outages. Over 300 people have been evacuated.

Eight out of the 13 people who died at the Bahiense del Norte sports club have been identified so far. Fourteen people who attended the sports event remain hospitalized with severe injuries.

President Javier Milei expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the victims on Saturday. At 11.30 a.m., Milei traveled from Buenos Aires to Bahía Blanca along with members of his cabinet and medical staff to assess the situation, according to presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni. 

Buenos Aires province police, firefighters, Naval Police, Military Police, Civil Defense and the Military were still working in Bahía Blanca on Sunday morning to help the injured and remove fallen trees and other objects blocking roads.

The thunderstorm hit other towns and cities along the coast of Buenos Aires province, like Monte Hermoso and Mar del Plata, and ultimately reached the Buenos Aires metropolitan area at around 4 a.m. on Sunday. 

Flights canceled

Jorge Newbery airport, also known as Aeroparque, was shut down from early Sunday until 9 a.m. due to damage to runways. Over 100 flights — 52 arrivals and 57 departures — were canceled because of the thunderstorm, according to airport operator Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 (AA 2000).

While the airport is now operational, arrivals and departures will normalize gradually, meaning there will be delayed and canceled flights for the remainder of Sunday, AA 2000 told news agency Télam.

Sixteen Aerolíneas Argentinas planes are out of service because of damage from the thunderstorm. “Some were hit by lightning, others were hit due to movement from the wind,” a source from the airline told Télam. “We are doing the appropriate revisions to make them operational again.”

A video shared on social media shows an Aerolíneas Argentinas plane being pushed by the wind on the runway, knocking down boarding stairs. Metal sheets and branches also flew onto the runway.

The Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Ezeiza was not as affected as Aeroparque. Only four flights were canceled, although there are some delays.

In Palermo, a party called Bresh being held in the local racecourse ended with 15 people severely injured after the stage structure and a tent fell on top of them. According to the city’s medical emergency service, they suffered fractures, head trauma and other injuries, with 13 of them hospitalized.

The BA city government received over 500 calls for help, mostly due to trees that fell on top of cars or blocked roads. The iconic Floralis Generica monument in Recoleta was also damaged due to the wind.

Featured images: Ámbito


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